‘Sovereign citizen’ arrested after threats to take over state Capitol

by David Gutman, Political Reporter
Thomas David Deegan

A self-proclaimed “sovereign citizen” from Wood County has been arrested and charged with threatening to commit a terrorist act after he advocated a violent takeover of the West Virginia Capitol during multiple conference calls with associates and an undercover officer, according to law enforcement.

Thomas David Deegan, 39, of Mineral Wells, was arrested Wednesday by West Virginia State Police. Earlier this month, Deegan appeared with Phil Hudok, a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2014, in a lengthy, rambling Youtube video in which Deegan calls the government “a creature of the mind, a fiction of law” and calls for a return to a “lawful form of government.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ijiwn7CzU8  (with comments by Robert J. Morris)

“I’m not a citizen of their corporate system,” Deegan says in the video. “I am a real man with hands and legs.” The video had more than 7,800 views, as of Thursday afternoon, and dozens of encouraging comments.

A criminal complaint against Deegan alleges that he made at least four conference calls from his home in Wood County over the past month. “We are at war,” Deegan allegedly said. “The more bodies that come to Charleston the less likely for bloodshed.”

During a call on Sept. 14, the complaint says, Deegan asked several times for assistance in removing multiple government leaders from their offices in Charleston.

“Following the removal of these officials, control of West Virginia government would be assumed by members of the sovereign citizen movement,” the complaint says. “Deegan states that any resistance to combat law enforcement or military personnel should be met with gunfire if necessary.”

He allegedly said that he did not want gunfire, but would fire if necessary. The more supporters he could attract, Deegan allegedly said, the less violence there would be.

“If there are more bodies on the ground, then less bloodshed,” the complaint says.
On the conference call Deegan was asked if police would support his movement, the complaint says.“If you see the police coming and pulling up in a vehicle, I suggest you shoot them,” he allegedly responded.

Deegan said that the removed officials would then be charged with treason, among other crimes, and court hearings would be held.

In a later statement, Deegan advised that the punishment for treason would be death, the complaint says.

In the Sept. 14 call, Deegan gave details about how “sovereign citizens” in other states should go about overtaking their own state capitols, the complaint says. Deegan said that West Virginia would be the “foothold” for taking back the United States, the complaint says.

He told others on the call that the event was scheduled for today, Sept. 24, and that they should learn the location of the state Capitol, the State Police office, the Kanawha County Sheriff’s office and the West Virginia National Guard facilities in Kanawha County, the complaint says.

“Technically a militia is all able-bodied persons between 18 and 49, so you don’t have to say you’re in a militia to do anything. It’s time to effectuate citizens’ arrest,” Deegan says in the Youtube video. “We would like to see thousands of people here, I would like to see it by the end of the weekend.”

Members of the sovereign citizen movement generally try to reject taxation and local, state and federal laws. According to a report this year from the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, “sovereign citizen groups were the largest perceived terrorist threat among American law enforcement agencies.

Deegan, Hudok and a third man, Gene Stalnaker, have repeatedly filed documents with the state Supreme Court, the governor’s office and the state Legislature seeking the arrest of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Clerk of the House of Delegates Steve Harrison.

The Supreme Court denied a petition by the three men last month.

In the documents, Deegan identifies himself as Thomas David House of Deegan and the documents are stamped with a bright red fingerprint of what looks like blood.

Also named in documents posted online by the three men are all five justices of the state Supreme Court; Col. Jay Smithers, of the State Police; Sen. Joe Manchin; Secretary Joe Thornton, of the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety; and two assistant state attorneys general.

Lawrence Messina, spokesman for the state Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety said,“State officials are aware of information circulated through social media, and are taking appropriate steps to ensure the safety of public officials and employees, National Guard and law enforcement personnel and visitors to such public facilities as the state Capitol.”

Deegan is being held on a $300,000 bond at North Central Regional Jail.         A video arraignment is planned for later today. An employee of Wood County Magistrate Court said he was uncooperative when officials tried to arraign him Wednesday.

Reach David Gutman at david.gutman@wvgazette.com, 304-348-5119 or follow @davidlgutman on Twitter.


About David Robinson

REVISED: David Robinson is an Author and Journalist living in the mid-coast area of Maine. He is a Graduate and Alumni of the Brunswick Police Academy. He served as a JUROR seated on the Cumberland County, Maine, Grand Jury for the first four-month session of 2014. Publisher Robinson served 3 months of a 4-month sentence for Conspiracy to defraud the United States, at the FCI Berlin minimum security Satellite Camp in Berlin New Hampshire, as retaliation after he and a friend sued the IRS, unsuccessfully, for Unfair Trade Practices, under Title 15 of the US Code. +++ Maine Lawsuit Against The IRS: For Unfair Trade Practices (http://tinyurl.com/hm8gdls) +++ Failure to File & Conspiracy: United States vs. Messier & Robinson - No. 2:14-cr-00083-DBH (http://tinyurl.com/gwdyaps) +++ On Appeal from the United States District Court for the District Court of Maine / REPLY BRIEF OF ROBINSON (http://tinyurl.com/zyp9f3x) +++ Books by David E. Robinson (http://tinyurl.com/zrr9bxb)
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