Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Randy Weaver: Siege at Ruby Ridge

Judgements Passed

As the trial came to an end, Prosecutor Howen began his closing arguments, during which time he reiterated the Weavers' racist views and hatred for the government. It was obvious to those in the courtroom that Howen was unnerved, however everyone was surprised when he collapsed during the middle of his closing statement, telling the judge, "I can't go on." When Gerry Spence made the closing arguments for the defense, he drilled home earlier statements regarding misconduct by government officials and again claimed that the Weavers acted in self-defense. "This is a murder case, but the people who committed the murder are not here in court," Spence told the jury as he finished his closing argument.

Following the trial, the jury deliberated for nearly three weeks before finding Kevin Harris not guilty of murder or any of the other charges that had been brought against him. While Randy Weaver was also found not guilty of any federal felony counts, the jury did find him guilty of failing to appear in court and guilty of violating his bail conditions. Randy was then sentenced to 18 months in jail, 14 of which he had already served and fined him $10,000. After the jury announced its decision, Gerry Spence told {The New York Times}, "A jury today has said that you can't kill somebody just because you wear badges, then cover those homicides by prosecuting the innocent. What are we going to do now about the deaths of Vicki Weaver, a mother who was killed with a baby in her arms, and Sammy Weaver, a boy who was shot in the back?" Randy Weaver also spoke out from behind bars while serving his remaining four months, and denied being a white supremacist or having had any affiliation with white supremacist groups. "I'm not a white supremacist. I'm a white separatist," Weaver said. "I was born white. I can't help that. If I was black I'd probably be affiliated with Louis Farrakhan's group, but as it is, I don't belong to anything. I don't believe I'm superior to anyone, but I do believe I have the right to be with my own kind of people if I choose to."

After a Justice Department investigation, it reported that the late disclosures by the prosecution during the trial were, "unnecessary, were embarrassing and damaged the integrity of the government...the late production of materials related to the shooting incident report were particularly devastating to the prosecution. The FBI is responsible for that incident. We hope that corrective procedures are instituted to prevent a similar occurrence in the future...although we do not view that incident as having been intentional, we think that if more care and attention had been directed to the original search and production of the materials, it would have been avoided."


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