Purported Supremacists Sentenced On Gun Conviction
Two members of a family who authorities say once tried to set up a whites-only nation in America were each sentenced to prison Monday for a federal firearm conviction arising out of an October raid at the family patriarch's northern Arizona ranch.
Kirby Keith Kehoe received the maximum 10-year sentence, while his adult son, Cheyne Christopher Kehoe, was sentenced to 3 years and 5 months in prison.
The elder Kehoe, who is physically frail and was brought into court in a wheelchair, made angry remarks after U.S. District Judge Murray Snow handed down the sentence.
"This is not justice," Kehoe said. "This is the reason people in the United States can no longer trust the government."
Authorities said they found more than a dozen guns, 15,000 rounds of ammunition and four ballistic vests during a Oct. 14 raid at the elder Kehoe's 40-acre property near Ash Fork, about 140 miles north of Phoenix. Both men admitted they possessed guns that were seized during the raid and had previous felony convictions that prohibited them from having firearms.
Their guilty pleas to being a felon in possession of firearms carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. After Snow considered the circumstances of Cheyne Kehoe's case and life, the younger Kehoe faced nearly 3 1/2 years to 4 1/2 years in prison.
"I messed up," Cheyne Kehoe, 38, said shortly before his sentence was imposed. "I did the offense."
The Kehoe family has been well-known to law enforcement since the 1990s, when authorities say they provided weapons to white supremacists who committed robberies across the Midwest. Authorities also said the family was involved in a plot to overthrow the federal government and establish the Aryan Peoples Republic in the Pacific Northwest.
Another son, Chevie Kehoe, is serving a life sentence in federal prison for his role in the 1996 killings of an Arkansas gun dealer, his wife and their 8-year-old daughter as part of the plot.
Cheyne Kehoe was convicted of attempted murder in 1998 for his role in a shootout with Ohio police during a traffic stop northeast of Cincinnati. No officers were injured in the gun battle, but a passer-by was wounded by a bullet fragment.
Kirby Kehoe, who is in his 60s, said he was never the member of a white supremacist group and that such organizations led to his son's downfall.
The judge said the weapons found on the property emboldened the elder Kehoe as he grew marijuana on the property.
Kirby Kehoe was convicted of racketeering and possession of illegal weapons in a case related to the plot aimed at overthrowing the government. The elder Kehoe has maintained he was never involved in his sons' efforts to establish a whites-only nation and that he isn't a racist.
An attorney for Cheyne Kehoe has said his client has disavowed white supremacy.
Authorities said Cheyne Kehoe told them that his father had extreme anti-government views, a separatist mentality on race issues and that he actively was seeking to connect with others who have similar viewpoints. Cheyne Kehoe also told authorities that he believed his father would put those views into action when the government or societal order collapsed or if his health was failing to a point where he felt he had nothing else to lose.