Militia men held in murder plot

Bizarre case linked to drug dealing, armed protest against play

Hoosier Times/August 13, 2001

Spencer -- Two members of an Indiana militia group were being held without bail Sunday in the Owen County Jail, facing charges they plotted to assassinate another member of their group.

The bizarre case also includes allegations of drug dealing and that the militia sent more than a dozen members armed with assault-style weapons to protest the controversial play Corpus Christi.

Fred Keuthan, 62, and Dallas Fultz, 66, both of Owen County, were arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, as well as a number of weapons violations. Police found a cache of weapons, including assault rifles, in their homes and cars.

The two men, leaders of the 14th Regiment of the Indiana State Militia, were arrested Friday, hours before the Fort Wayne premiere of a student production of the play Corpus Christi, featuring a gay, Christ-like character.

The play is being presented on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, but Keuthan and Fultz mistakenly believed the play was being produced at Indiana University's main campus in Bloomington, 15 miles southeast of Spencer, police said.

While they attended the protest, Keuthan and Fultz allegedly had hired a hit man to execute another militia member, whom they believed had betrayed them in a drug-dealing case. But their plan was filled with missteps. Getting the wrong location for the play wasn't their only mistake.

The man Keuthan and Fultz hired for the execution was no hit man - he was an undercover Indiana State Police officer. It wasn't clear whether the militia group sent to protest the play was bent on violence. But police were concerned enough that, at noon Friday, agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Indiana State Police troopers swarmed Fultz in a fast-food restaurant parking lot near Cloverdale. Keuthan was arrested about an hour later on Ind. 243 north of Cunot.

Snider said the militia group was close to becoming unhinged. "We think we took action in the nick of time before something awful was going to happen," he said. The investigation into the group began last year when information that the militia possessed explosives was passed along to the ATF.

Jack Groh, the ATF's agent in charge in Indianapolis, said the agency feared the group would attack police involved in the standoff at the Indianapolis Baptist Temple, which a federal judge had ordered seized in a dispute over federal income taxes.

No such attack occurred when U.S. marshals seized the church Feb. 13, but ATF agents continued watching the militia because they believed the group was trafficking in marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamines to finance its arsenal and militia activities.

Keuthan was convinced that his two recent arrests in Indianapolis and Texas on drug-related charges resulted from information given to police by another militia member, said Lt. Mike Snider, commander of the Indiana State Police drug enforcement section. In the first case, two month ago, he was arrested near Brownsville, Texas, for transporting a large quantity of marijuana in his car's gas tank. Last month, he was arrested by Indianapolis police for possession of cocaine.

Groh also said Fultz was becoming more reclusive and fantasized about how he would barricade himself and fight back if authorities came to arrest him. Police decided to move in after learning that Keuthan and Fultz had dispatched more than a dozen other militia members armed with assault-style weapons to join a rally protesting Corpus Christi.

The killing was to be carried out in another location while the two men were at the demonstration. In another bizarre twist to the story, Keuthan and Fultz were reportedly heavily influenced by a southern Indiana woman known as "The Prophet." The woman's identity was not revealed.

"They were going to do what The Prophet told them to," Snider said. The men also claimed to hear the voice of God when they talked to other members.

Frank Wilkins, 53, of Lafayette, who heads the 11-county Indiana Citizens Volunteer Militia, Tippecanoe Regiment, said it would be uncharacteristic of militia members to be involved in drug dealing or to plan a military act on a public event like the play.

"We are patriotic people from all walks of life who merely want to express ourselves in a traditional way allowed by our Constitution," he said.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.