SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge on Tuesday threw out guilty pleas by three members of the Grizzly Scouts anti-government militia who are accused of destroying evidence in the deadly shooting of a federal security officer in Oakland.
The men pleaded guilty last year and were expected to face sentences of 10 months to a year in prison. But Judge James Donato in San Francisco threw out the plea deal, KGO-TV reported.
“They were dedicated exclusively and deliberately in a scheme to target and kill law enforcement officers,” the judge said. “I haven’t seen a case that is more of a threat to public safety.”
A June trial is now set for Jessie Alexander Rush, 29, of Turlock; Kenny Miksch, 22, of San Lorenzo, and Simon Ybarra, 24, of Los Gatos.
According to the Department of Justice, Rush admitted to being the militia’s “commanding officer” in the plea agreement.
None of the prosecution or defense attorneys would comment on the decision, KGO-TV reported.
Charged With Conspiracy to Destroy Evidence
The trio was charged with conspiring to obstruct justice by destroying records connected to the investigation of the murder of a federal security officer and the wounding of another officer on May 29, 2020, at the Oakland federal building.
Prosecutors alleged that the three made plans to target law enforcement officers with Steven Carrillo, a former U.S. Air Force staff sergeant. Carrillo pleaded guilty earlier this month to a federal murder charge in the death of David Patrick Underwood and to the attempted murder of Underwood’s colleague.
They were shot with a homemade AR-15 rifle from the back of a van as they stood in front of the federal building while hundreds marched to protest the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Under a plea deal, prosecutors agreed not to seek the death penalty but will call for a 41-year sentence when Carrillo is sentenced on June 3. However, the judge in the case said she hasn’t decided whether to accept the agreement.
Prosecutors have said Carrillo, of Santa Cruz County, had ties to the “boogaloo” movement —a concept embraced by a loose network of gun enthusiasts and militia-style extremists. The group started in alt-right culture on the internet with the belief that there is an impending U.S. civil war, according to experts.
Carrillo also is facing murder and other charges in Santa Cruz in the ambush of sheriff’s deputies a week after the Oakland shooting. Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, 38, was killed and others were wounded.
Carrillo has pleaded not guilty to that killing.