An Occupation In Eastern Oregon

Gun Charge Against Shawna Cox Dismissed, Ward Testifies

By Conrad Wilson (OPB), Bryan M. Vance (OPB) and Bradley W. Parks (OPB)
Portland, Oregon Oct. 3, 2016 6:32 p.m.

Citing a failure to provide more evidence, U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown dismissed a felony gun charge against defendant Shawna Cox Monday morning in court.

Cox, one of seven defendants currently on trial for the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, filed a motion Friday, requesting that the charge of carrying a firearm in a federal facility be dismissed. The prosecution provided evidence showing Cox's Utah driver's license and a gun were found in a Chevy HHR hatchback belonging to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, but they were unable to prove the gun belonged to Cox. Therefore, the charge was dismissed.


Also Monday, the jury again heard from Harney County Sheriff David Ward. The defense called him as a witness, weeks after he testified for the prosecution about the months leading up to the occupation.

Monday, Ward testified about several emails he received from defendant Ammon Bundy in November and December of last year, weeks before the occupation began.

On Dec. 18, Bundy sent Ward an email that read: “We as a people deserve to live in peace and tranquility, but will defend freedoms if necessary in order to do so.” The email goes on to say, “We call upon you Sheriff Ward and all civil servants to honorably and effectively uphold the oaths and duties of your sworn offices, to turn your weapons in defense of the Hammonds’ rights and truly be representative of the people, by the people, for the people.”


On the stand Monday, Ward said, "I believe [Ammon Bundy] is trying to tell me to turn my weapons against the federal government to protest the Hammonds going back to prison.”

Dwight and Steven Hammond are father and son ranchers from Harney County who were resentenced to federal prison last year for setting fire to public lands.

Ammon Bundy is expected to testify this week.

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