SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah militia leader who tried to blow up a remote Bureau of Land Management cabin won’t have to spend more time behind bars after a federal judge released him Monday.

U.S. District Judge David Sam gave William Keebler, of Stockton, credit for the 25 months he has served in jail since his arrest and sentenced him to three years of probation in a brief hearing.

Sam factored Keebler’s poor health, apology, lack of criminal history and military and community service into the sentence, but said his “loose words and conduct” about war and government overreach made him an appropriate target for the undercover FBI investigation that led to his arrest.

Defense attorney Adam Bridge argued in court documents for Keebler’s release and probation.

“It’s time to let him go home,” Bridge wrote.

Keebler, 59, admitted in April to attempted destruction of federal property by use of an explosive in an agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Keebler, who formed a group called the Patriots Defense Force, tried to blow up a BLM cabin near Mount Trumbull, Arizona, with an inert pipe bomb in June 2016.

Prosecutors argued in court documents that Keebler should be sentenced to the high end of an agreed upon 12- to 70-month prison term to promote respect for the law, deter future criminal conduct and punish him.

But Utah U.S. Attorney John Huber said he was satisfied with the outcome.

“We can have deeply held political beliefs and philosophies, but we can’t act upon anger and commit a crime,” he said. “My hope is that it’s more of a general deterrent for like-minded people who may want to act upon their philosophies and beliefs in planned violent acts.”

Bridge accused federal agents of entrapment, saying in court papers that the crime was “instigated, refined, and brought to life by the …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


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