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Separatist Standoff

One dead, officers track fugitive

Associated Press Writer
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FORT DAVIS, Texas (AP) - Police returned to the air over the rugged
Davis Mountains today in a search for a member of the militant Republic
of Texas, a day after one of his comrades shot three tracking dogs and
then was killed in a shootout.

Both men had disappeared into the mountains hours before other allies of
the group ended a weeklong standoff with authorities.

The leader of the group, which believes the formerly independent Texas
was illegally absorbed by the United States, and several followers were
named in a federal fraud indictment unsealed Monday.

The missing man still being sought today had never been spotted Monday,
when authorities scoured the mountains on horseback and helicopter and
with trained dogs.

``There is some feeling now that maybe they were not together,'' said
Mike Cox, spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety.

The two men, 48-year-old Mike Matson and 21-year-old Richard Frank Keyes
III, had left the Republic's remote headquarters separately on Saturday.
Authorities said they were believed armed with rifles and at least one

On Monday, Republic leader Richard McLaren and his wife, Evelyn, were
indicted on charges of defrauding businesses out of hundreds of thousand
of dollars with phony money. Several followers also were indicted.

The McLarens tried ripping off banks and merchants by handing out
worthless ``warrants'' and receipts to open checking accounts and pay
bills for territorial passports and badges, prosecutors said.

The McLarens applied for credit cards with the warrants, and tried to
use them to pay off a print shop for 5,000 Republic of Texas passports
and a jeweler for 75 sterling silver badges, prosecutors said.

``Creditors who complained about having received a worthless warrant and
then getting a worthless receipt on top of that were threatened with
so-called `marks of reprisals' by the defendants,'' U.S. Attorney Paul
Coggins said.

Coggins called the McLarens ``paper terrorists. They're not
revolutionaries, but ripoff artists. They're not patriots, but
parasites. In short, they're bullies.''

Although officials would not release the name of the man killed Monday,
he was described as middle-aged.

``Yeah, that's my brother,'' Ralph Matson, brother of Mike Matson, told
The Associated Prgss after being read a description of the victim.

The man was sleeping when search dogs found him. Startled, he fired his
pistol and fled into the woods. Three dogs unleashed to track the
fugitives were shot. One died and the other two were in good condition.
A fourth dog was missing.

Dogs tracked him down again in the afternoon. He fired again and was
shot in the arm by DPS officers.

He fell, stood up and fired at a helicopter before he was hit again and
killed. Horses could not reach the spot because of the rough terrain,
and his body had to be retrieved by helicopter.

Matson, originally from Chicago but a resident of California since 1983,
came to the Davis Mountains less than three months ago after leaving
California and hitchhiking around the country, his brother said from
Colorado Springs, Colo.

Wanted by California for breaking probation by leaving the state, he
harbored a longstanding grudge against the government after losing a
$110,000 inheritance in a 1991 court battle, the Oakland Tribune
reported today.

``I don't intend to survive another jail term. If I am to die, I will
die fighting somehow - somewhere,'' Matson was quoted as saying in a
newsletter article he sent to the Tribune in December.

Ralph Matson said his brother did not join the Texas group, but
committed himself to protecting McLaren.

``My brother told McLaren `I'll take bullets for you and your wife, I'll
guard you like no one has ever been guarded,' but I need to know that
you are serious, that this isn't a game because I won't go to jail,''
Ralph Matson said.

Matson was not charged with a crime over the standoff. Keyes is accused
of kidnapping in the April 27 hostage-taking that started the

Separatists-Mrs. McLaren

Evelyn McLaren: `A wonderful person who's had a really hell of a bad week'

Associated Press Writer
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ALPINE, Texas (AP) - Wearing gold-beaded shoes that clashed with her
orange jail jumpsuit, Evelyn McLaren stepped into a federal courtroom
and out of the shadow of her husband, Texas separatist Richard McLaren.

Mrs. McLaren's demeanor during a appearance in a federal courtroom
Monday portrayed a genteel, family-oriented woman quite different from
her wild-haired, idealist husband.

Yet, as U.S. Magistrate Katherine Baker read the federal charges against
Mrs. McLaren, the long list indicated she must have truly believed her
husband's Republic of Texas movement was its own nation.

Mrs. McLaren is accused of conspiracy, bank fraud, mail fraud and aiding
and abetting. She could be punished by up to 155 years in jail and fined
$5.25 million.

``She's actually doing quite well,'' said her attorney, Terry O'Rourke.
``She is just a wonderful person who's had a really hell of a bad

Mrs. McLaren, 50, became a central figure in the Republic of Texas'
standoff at their remote mountain home Friday when her daughters arrived
from Fort Worth and made impassioned pleas for her to come out.

Julie Hopkins, 29, cried that she didn't want to be 30 and motherless.
Her older sister Lisa Rutledge said she didn't want to take her
2½-year-old son to his grandmother's funeral.

Sure enough, the next morning, Mrs. McLaren left the throng of trailers
the group called its embassy and turned herself in to state troopers.

Mrs. McLaren also brought out the terms for a complete surrender: a
cease-fire document that would be signed by herself, her husband and the
state's lead negotiator. Hours later, McLaren and three followers laid
down their arms and peacefully ended the stalemate.

Two others fled separately into the woods. One was killed in a shootout
with police Monday, and the other is still on the lam in the rugged
Davis Mountains.

Later Saturday, six separatists were taken to the Presidio County Jail
in Marfa. Mrs. McLaren was the only one not facing state charges,
instead being held on the federal ones. She was allowed to share a cell
with her husband as part of their surrender terms.

Mrs. McLaren was taken by van from Marfa to Alpine shortly after noon
Monday for her federal hearing. As she got out, Mrs. McLaren turned to
the media, smiled, waved and shuffled her shackled feet inside.

As the 24-seat courtroom filled, she turned to reporters in the front
row and asked for two spots to be saved in case her daughters arrived.
They never came.

Gently rocking her chair, Mrs. McLaren seemed at ease during a delay
before the hearing.

She fiddled with her ponytail to make sure all loose hairs were
scrunched into a rubber band. The rest of her hair appeared to be losing
its blonde coating, with dark roots creeping through the top.

She spoke briefly briefly with O'Rourke and his wife, Michelle. They
gave her a few sheets of paper to take notes, something she never did.

Instead, Mrs. McLaren spent most of the 23-minute hearing standing at a
podium with O'Rourke as Ms. Baker read the parts of the thick indictment
that involved her.

It took 12 minutes, and O'Rourke had his left hand on Mrs. McLaren's
back during most of it.

The documents referred to her as Evelyn Ann McLaren, aka Evelyn Ann
Horak. O'Rourke made it clear she prefers McLaren.

Rick and Evelyn have never formally been married. They're considered
husband and wife because Texas common law says anyone introducing
themselves as such is legally married.

Throughout the hearing, Mrs. McLaren was silent. She uttered ``uh-huh''
the first time she was asked if she understood the charges.

Ms. Baker tallied up the possible punishment, set another hearing for
Friday, then again asked if she understood.

``I believe so,'' she said. ``He (O'Rourke) may have to explain some of
this stuff to me.''

Mrs. McLaren met with him briefly, then was put back on the van headed
to Marfa. Getting in, she smiled and waved goodbye.

Separatist Standoff-Fugitive

Republic of Texas fugitive vowed to `die fighting'

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - One of the two fugitive secessionists sought by
Texas police was wanted by Alameda County authorities for more than a
year and vowed to ``die fighting'' before returning to jail, The Oakland
Tribune reported today.

Mike Matson, who lived in the east San Francisco Bay area until last
year, nurtured a longstanding grudge against the government after he
lost a $110,000 inheritance in a 1991 court battle, the newspaper said.

Matson, 48, is believed to be one of two fugitive members of the
Republic of Texas who split off from the militant group after the others
laid down their arms over the weekend.

One unidentified man was killed Monday in a shootout with police and a
second man remained at large. The other man sought was Richard Keyes
III, 21.

Matson's brother, Ralph Matson of Colorado Springs, Colo., told The
Associated Press he believed the man killed in the confrontation was his

He said Matson, who lived in Berkeley and Oakland since 1983, hitchhiked
to Texas last year after hearing about the secessionist group.

``I don't intend to survive another jail term. If I am to die, I will
die fighting somehow - somewhere,'' Matson said in a newsletter article
sent to the Tribune in December.

Matson's battle with Alameda County courts stretched back to 1991, when
a Superior Court judge invalidated a 1989 will written by an elderly
Oakland woman Matson cared for. The $110,000 the woman left Matson when
she died in 1990 instead went to two of her stepdaughters and a niece,
who claimed Matson coerced the 85-year-old woman into writing a new

Matson and another man hired to care for the woman, Harold Sweet,
launched a letter-writing campaign claiming they were the victims of a
conspiracy designed to deprive them of their inheritance, court records

After violating a restraining order barring them from defaming or
harassing the attorney representing the woman's survivors, Matson was
arrested, jailed and charged with contempt of court in 1995. He pleaded
no contest to 11 counts.

``He said he and the militia would get me,'' said Montie Day, the
attorney representing the woman's survivors. ``He was getting more
violent and more dangerous.''

A warrant for Matson's arrest was issued in March 1996 after he violated
his probation by leaving California - reportedly to publicize his
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