Ellison Trial Begins MondayAP , Associated Press
Jul. 14, 1985 4:27 PM ET
FORT SMITH, ARK. FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) _ The leader of a militant survivalist group who was arrested after a standoff with federal agents at his rural compound in the Ozarks was set to go on trial this week on racketeering charges.
James D. Ellison, 38, was arrested on federal weapons charges April 22 at the Marion county compound of the Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord.
Ellison and four federal fugitives who were reputed members of The Order, a neo-Nazi group, surrendered peacefully after several days inside the CSA compound. A search of the camp revealed stockpiles of weapons, ammunition, explosives, a drum of cyanide, an armored car, and an antitank gun.
U.S. Attorney Asa Hutchinson of Fort Smith said he expects Ellison's trial, scheduled to begin Monday, to last through the week.
A federal indictment issued at Hot Springs alleges that Ellison and fellow CSA member William Thomas set arson fires to collect insurance money, used arson and explosives to threaten minority groups and used violence and terror to promote their white-supremacist beliefs.
It alleged that on April 18, 1980, they set fire to the Ozark County, Mo., home of Ellison's sister, Jean Troxell, then used the mail to defraud Western Fire Casualty Insurance Co. of a $11,000 fire loss payment.
They also are charged with setting an Aug. 9, 1983 fire at Metropolitan Community Church in Springfield, Mo., whose congregation includes homosexuals, and an Aug. 15, 1983, fire at a Jewish community center in Bloomington, Ind.
Thomas pleaded guilty last week and agreed to cooperate with federal authorities in their investigation, authorities said. He is awaiting sentencing.
Court records also indicated that former CSA member Randall Rader has been ordered moved from a jail at Spokane, Wash., to Fort Smith to testify during Ellison's trial. The FBI said information it obtained from Rader in March provided the basis for the April search of the CSA compound.
A preliminary evidence list filed by prosecutors last month included a white supremacist declaration of war against the federal ''Zionist Occupation Government'' dated Nov. 25, 1984; a tape and transcript of Ellison speaking in Licking, Mo.; photographs of materials and weapons seized at the CSA compound; a wooden target silhouette depicting an officer with a Star of David on his chest, and Nazi armbands and pamphlets allegedly distributed by the CSA and neo-Nazi groups.
Another federal indictment returned in Fort Smith on May 30 charges Ellison and other CSA members and associates with federal weapons violations and with receipt of jewelry stolen in a Texarkana, Tex., robbery in which a pawnshop owner was shot and killed. No trial date has been set.