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A Utah militia group leader who pleaded guilty to trying to blow up a federal cabin in Arizona was ordered to be released on time served on Monday after spending two years in jail.
The sentencing of William Keebler, 59, concludes a case that began amid heightened tensions between the federal government and militia groups over control of public land in the West. Keebler appeared on authorities' radar after spending time with Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy during his armed 2014 standoff over grazing fees.
US - Attorney - John - Hubert - Court
U.S. Attorney John Hubert said outside federal court that Keebler's case ought to be an example to other groups. 'My hope is that it's more of a general deterrent for likeminded people who may want to act upon their philosophies and beliefs and plan violent acts,' Hubert said.
Keebler, shackled at the wrists and ankles and dressed in a striped jumpsuit, appeared calm as Judge David Sam ordered his imminent release in a federal courtroom in downtown Salt Lake City.
Keebler - Statement - Court
Keebler declined to make a statement in court.
Sam said Keebler had been a model prisoner since his arrest after trying to bomb a Bureau of Land Management cabin in 2016. The judge cited his age and multiple physical ailments, including prostate cancer and heart disease, as reasons for allowing him to be released from federal custody.
'He - Apology - Misconduct - Sam
'He has expressed what appears to be a sincere apology for his misconduct,' Sam said.
Keebler pleaded guilty to a felony charge of attempting to destroy federal property in April.
Weeks - Bundy - Ranch - Efforts - Supporters
He spent two weeks at Bundy's ranch and boasted about his efforts to organize supporters who flocked to Bundy's defense, prosecutors said.
Keebler then returned to Utah and started a small group of about seven people called the Patriots Defense Force in the desert about 40...
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