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Republic of Texas - Special Edition

May 4, 1997
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-Separatist Standoff

Search continues for fleeing secessionists


Associated Press Writer

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FORT DAVIS, Texas (AP) - State troopers used planes and helicopters
Sunday to search thousands of wooded acres for two Republic of Texas
separatists who fled into the mountains when their leader turned himself
in to authorities.

Explosives and booby traps prevented Department of Public Safety
troopers, horsemen and bloodhounds from mounting a ground search for the
two armed men who did not join colleagues the day before in a peaceful
ending to a weeklong standoff.

The DPS seemed confident the men, identified as Richard Frank Keyes, 21,
and Mike Matson, 48, could not last long in the rugged terrain studded
with pine trees.

``Eventually, they're going to get real hungry and thirsty,'' said DPS
spokesman Mike Cox.

Keyes is wanted on state charges of engaging in organized criminal
activity and other charges. No charges were filed against Matson.

The men had two rifles and possibly a pistol, Cox said.

Authorities found up to 60 pipebombs around the trailer and cabin that
the Republic and its leader Richard McLaren declared an ``embassy.''
They also found 12 fairly large gasoline containers that seemed to be
set up so the fuel could be set on fire then poured onto the road
leading to the Republic encampment.

``We continue to learn how good the decision was not to pursue them,''
Cox said.

Authorities discovered other fortifications, including eight bunkers
made up of stacked rocks, some on the mountain sides. The area could be
cleared by Monday and then the DPS could resume its ground search.

Authorities didn't follow Keyes and Matson on Saturday because they
feared that could impair plans to take McLaren into custody. They halted
the use of bloodhounds and horses in the area around the Davis Mountains
Resort after a few hours.

Cox said one of the men had left around noon, before McLaren notified
Texas Rangers that he had signed a ``cease-fire'' agreement that would
bring him out.

Another fled later in the afternoon as DPS moved in two armored
personnel carriers to protect officers that were going to take McLaren
and the others.

Residents of the resort, the remote subdivision where McLaren's home is
located, were said to be safe and were being allowed to come and go from
their homes freely.

The Republic of Texas had been involved in an armed standoff with some
300 law enforcement officers since April 27.

McLaren and three followers have been charged with organized criminal
activity. The felony is punishable by up to life in prison and a $10,000
fine. McLaren's wife, Evelyn, is awaiting arraignment on federal charges
unrelated to the standoff.

Cox said that on Saturday one of two people taken hostage at the
beginning of the standoff had presented DPS with a state flag.

The flag had been torn down when Republic members seized Joe Rowe's
home. Officers acting on their own initiative later raised the flag over
a DPS observation post overlooking the group's retreat.

``The Texas flag is now flying and visible over the Republic of Texas
embassy,'' Cox said.


Republic of Texas members gather
for unity meeting in East Texas

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Associated Press Writer

KILGORE, Texas (AP) - The 300 or so Republic of Texas members who met
here Sunday struck a strikingly different pose from the gun-toting
separatists who kept law enforcement officers at bay for a week.

There were no weapons in sight. No one showed up in battle fatigues. And
no local police were needed to protect the innocent.

In fact, the casually-dressed participants representing three factions
of the separatist group that believes Texas was illegally annexed by the
United States in 1845 were focused on getting their message out.

``We've tried to use this as an opportunity to tell people that's not
what the Republic of Texas is about,'' said Dan Miller, chairman of the
Gregg County Constitutional Committee for the Republic of Texas.

``The Republic of Texas is about freedom and the truth.''

Most of the grievances voiced Sunday sounded much like the ones heard at
any town meeting - frustration with the crime rate and the judicial
system, along with high taxes.

``I'm old enough to remember when we could walk down the streets safely
at night,'' Leo Holley said when he took the mike.

``I think the people need a voice, and I think you are the voice that we
need,'' said Lisa McAlister, who made the 100-mile trip from Paris.

The standoff in the Davis Mountains, which ended peacefully Saturday,
was barely mentioned.

Richard McLaren and three others abandoned their ``embassy,'' a trailer
in the remote Davis Mountains after signing a cease-fire document.
McLaren's wife surrendered earlier in the day.

But two men disappeared hours before the surrender into a heavily wooded
canyon wearing green camouflage. Richard Frank Keyes III and Mike Matson
were believed to be carrying two rifles and a 9mm pistol.

Both Miller and Archie Lowe, president of a Republic of Texas faction
that impeached McLaren, said they were glad it was over. Others said
they were worried that the group's image has suffered.

Although billed as a meeting to discuss reunification, few of the
speakers addressed that topic and none of the leaders present offered
any proposals.

Lowe said he just came to listen.

``This is the meeting of the people,'' Lowe said. ``I have to adhere to
the will of the people.''

``We're just Texans. We're people who want liberty. We're people who
want freedom.''

Separatist Standoff-Chronology

Chronology of events
surrounding Republic of Texas standoff

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FORT DAVIS, Texas (AP) - Some events surrounding the Republic of Texas'
weeklong standoff that began April 27 between authorities and a group
led by self-styled ambassador Richard McLaren. The standoff ended
peacefully Saturday when McLaren and four others surrendered to Texas

Dec. 25, 1996 - McLaren, wanted on civil contempt charges for failing to
appear in court to answer questions about land titles, says he'll use
force if necessary to resist summons issued by a federal judge.

Jan. 10 - A bill in the state Legislature targets false property liens
filed by the Republic of Texas. Differing versions passes both houses in
March, and the variations remain to be worked out.

Feb. 2 - Republic officials announce a split in the group for political
and philosophical reasons.

March 12 - Texas Attorney General Dan Morales obtains a temporary
restraining order prohibiting the Republic from filing false liens.

March 24 - McLaren declares that more than half of New Mexico and parts
of four other states belong to the Republic of Texas.

April 22 - Republic member Jo Ann Canady Turner is arrested in Austin
for filing a fraudulent lien against a moving company and ignoring a
court order to explain why she did it.

April 23 - Judge sets Turner's bond at $25,000 and sets a May 27 court

April 27 - Robert Scheidt, identified by the Republic as the ``captain
of the embassy guard,'' arrested on weapons violations. Three Republic
members take neighbors Joe and Margaret Ann Rowe hostage. McLaren
demands release of Turner and Scheidt, claiming authorities
``kidnapped'' them.

April 28 - After more than 12 hours, Republic members release the Rowes
in exchange for Scheidt. McLaren says group is ``digging in.''

Six Republic members are charged with engaging in organized criminal
activity, a first-degree felony. Three also are charged with aggravated
kidnapping in the hostage-taking.

April 29 - Houston attorney Terry O'Rourke talks with his client,
McLaren, and negotiates with officials. Two armored personnel carriers
arrive from Tyler, 520 miles across the state.

May 2 - Scheidt surrenders to authorities.

May 3 - McLaren signs a ``cease-fire document'' with the Texas Rangers.
He and Republic members lay down their arms, ending weeklong standoff.
Two armed followers flee into the woods.

May 4 - The search continues for the two members who fled.

Separatist Standoff

Some negotiating trends change
after Branch Davidian incident

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Associated Press Writer

FORT DAVIS, Texas (AP) - A twist in negotiating style may be why the
separatists walked away from their standoff, unlike Texas' most infamous
law enforcement siege, where more than 80 Branch Davidians died.

``I think it was a matter of a determined patience,'' said Mike Cox of
the Texas Department of Public Safety, which was in charge of the
weeklong standoff in this remote part of West Texas.

Four years ago, federal officers stormed David Koresh's compound outside
Waco while trying to serve arrest warrants, resulting in a gunbattle
that killed four agents and six sect members. A 51-day standoff ended
when a fire destroyed the group's home, killing 80 people.

``One major difference between the operations is that the DPS was in
charge this time from the get-go,'' Cox said. ``Although we had
assistance (here), we were the agency making decisions and calling the
shots. In Waco, there was overlapping jurisdictions.''

Although the DPS did cut telephone lines and electricity to the Texas
separatists, Cox said they tried hard to be flexible with
self-proclaimed leader Richard McLaren and his followers. For example,
early in the standoff, negotiators swapped a Republic of Texas follower
for two hostages.

That move was contrary to standard law enforcement techniques, but some
experts called it shrewd and said it probably helped build trust with

Also, family members' pleas were sent to Republic of Texas members holed
up in their mountain retreat, surrounded by their homemade explosives
and booby traps.

``You take away some of the heavy tension when you can get somebody in
the middle with credibility in both camps,'' said Brian Levin, an
associate professor of criminal justice at Richard Stockton College in
New Jersey.

``It's important sometimes to stand back. One of the things law
enforcement has found is it's not a sign of weakness to use
intermediaries. At Waco, the FBI, with exception of the lawyer, didn't
take advantage of intermediaries.''

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies had only secondary roles in
the Republic of Texas standoff.

Telephone messages left Sunday with the FBI's Crisis Management Unit
were not returned.

Federal agents took a more hard-line approach with the Branch Davidians.
They shut off utilities, stopped deliveries, squelched outside contact
and beamed lights and music relentless toward the site.

In 1995, FBI hostage team member Barry Higginbotham said of the Waco
incident: ``We just felt that if we make them suffer a little more, deny
them perhaps a little more food, lights, power, things like that inside,
that would cause more pressure on their leaders inside.''

Now, after the examinations of Waco, experts say barricaded standoffs
with ideologues are likely to stay at a lower intensity for a longer

``I think what you're going to see is a much more careful decision on
when you go to the hard-line process,'' said Levin, who is also director
of the Center on Hate and Extremism. ``As long as you have a group
isolated and contained that's the important thing. Not everything has to
be solved by the 6 o'clock news.''

Last year, the armed siege with the Freeman in Montana - the longest in
modern U.S. history - ended peacefully after 81 days.

But during the FBI's August 1992 standoff with Randy Weaver at Ruby
Ridge, Idaho, a bureau sniper shot and killed Weaver's wife, Vicki, and
wounded Weaver and a friend. The FBI got involved after Weaver's son,
Samuel, and a deputy U.S. marshal, William F. Degan, were killed in
gunfire Aug. 21 as marshals scouted for a way to arrest the elder Weaver
for failing to appear in court on gun-sale charges.

Cox said he believes previous standoffs have taught law enforcement
officers a lot, including a better understanding of extremist behavior.

He said the chief negotiator, Texas Ranger Capt. Barry Caver, a shy and
quiet Midland resident who has spurned interviews, was convinced that
one reason the operation succeeded was Caver's willingness to sign a
cease-fire agreement with McLaren.

``He said it was almost as simple as signing his name,'' Cox said.

Caver, 39, made the tactical decisions during the standoff. Fellow
officers are crediting him for the peaceful end to the siege and Texas
Gov. George W. Bush called him to congratulate his success.

``When those people came out, even they seemed to be in a good mood,''
Cox said. ``I think it's because we lived up to our motto of `courtesy,
service, protection.' ''

Separatists-What's Next?

Court paperwork next for prosecutors, separatists

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Associated Press Writer

MARFA, Texas (AP) - Members of a Texas separatist group who claimed they
would die for independence are now at the mercy of a justice system they
don't recognize, and neighbors fear they haven't heard the last of them.

Richard McLaren, in custody Sunday along with five other Republic of
Texas members who held off state troopers in a weeklong standoff, was
preparing to continue his paper fight from behind bars.

``I think the standoff is over, but it's all just starting,'' said
Randall Kinzie, a neighbor of McLaren's at the Davis Mountains Resort
development. ``We haven't seen the last of Rick McLaren.''

``I expect appeals, appeals, appeals. It's going to cost us millions.
He's a very dedicated paper shuffler,'' added resident Malcolm Tweedy.

Unfinished business remained Sunday as authorities continued their
search for two camouflage-clad separatists who fled into the wooded
mountains behind McLaren's trailer-home ``embassy.''

Only one of the two who fled, Kansas native Richard Keyes III, is
charged with a crime. He is accused of organized criminal activity and
kidnapping related to the brief hostage-taking on April 27 that sparked
the siege.

Like Keyes, Mike Matson was seen carrying a rifle as he left the

McLaren, Keyes and four followers were charged last Monday, after three
of them burst into the home of Republic critic Joe Rowe and his wife,
Margaret Ann, and held them hostage for 12 hours.

Evelyn McLaren, who preceded her husband in surrender by five hours,
learned of a sealed federal indictment against her for conspiracy to
commit bank and mail fraud at her arrest Saturday. She was not charged
in connection with the kidnapping or siege.

McLaren was facing a state burglary charge and a federal contempt
citation before the standoff began.

After meeting with the couple in the Presidio County Jail Sunday
morning, attorney Terry O'Rourke of Houston said he wouldn't be
surprised if more federal charges were revealed.

``We've got to be concerned about that,'' O'Rourke said. ``This is the
time when the game is played that they tend to heap it on.''

Later, O'Rourke said a conversation with District Attorney Albert
Valadez indicated that McLaren's indictment included an ``inadvertent''
attempted capital murder charge that would be corrected later. He would
not elaborate and Valadez was unavailable for comment Sunday.

Residents of the Davis Mountains Resort subdivision, the isolated West
Texas development where McLaren set up his erstwhile nation, tried to
return to normal life Sunday as the police presence began to dwindle.

Although residents were being issued identification cards allowing them
to return to their homes, DPS authorities warned that some areas were
still closed because of hidden pipe bombs and booby traps.

``You can't even tell what's going on,'' said Kenneth Tucker, who
returned home Saturday after spending much of the week in a tent with
his mother. ``It's just a normal day, really.''

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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
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324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
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