The Trial of Randy Weaver

photo by
Art Wolfe

"Liberty means responsibility.
That is why most men dread it."
George Bernard Shaw
Maxims for Revolutions, 1903

In July 1993, a jury acquitted Randy Weaver of weapons and murder charges resulting from his set-up and the subsequent siege of his mountain cabin home by federal agents. Weaver's friend, Kevin Harris, was also found innocent.

Harris, witnessing the agents' killing of Randy Weaver's dog and son during the siege, fired at the agents in self-defense. Harris killed one of the agents. At the trial, the prosecution claimed Harris fired first; the defense produced evidence that the agent had fired seven shots before he was shot himself.

The federal government argued that FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi accidentally killed Weaver's wife Vicki. At the trial, however, Horiuchi testified that he was an accurate shot at 200 yards.

Everything about the federal government's actions in this case is sickening, but possibly the worst was their taunting of the Weaver family after Vicki Weaver's murder: "Good morning, Mrs. Weaver. We had pancakes for breakfast. What did you have?" That was one of the FBI's tactics revealed in court records, reported by Jerry Seper in the Washington Times in September 1993.

A jury found Weaver innocent of all serious charges, convicting him only on the original weapons charge. The jury also found Harris innocent, ruling his shooting of the marshal to be self-defense.

Sources: January 10, 1995 Wall Street Journal, and the Justice Department report on Ruby Ridge.

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