Local News

2 Sentenced in Johnston Courthouse Terrorism Plot

Posted October 17, 2007
Updated October 18, 2007

— Two people who pleaded guilty in connection with a 2004 plot to blow up the Johnston County Courthouse and kill Sheriff Steve Bizzell were sentenced Wednesday in federal court.

Jonathan Ashley Avery and Jonathan Maynard each received a year and a day in prison and three years' probation. Their sentences start Dec 1.

Avery and Maynard were among seven people indicted in January 2006 in the Ku Klux Klan terrorism plot. Among them were the son and wife of Charles Robert "Junior" Barefoot Jr., the self-proclaimed leader of the Nation's Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, based in Benson.

In March 2006, Avery and Maynard each pleaded guilty  to one count of conspiracy to posess stolen firearms and one count of theft of firearms and aiding and abetting. Four other people also pleaded guilty to various charges ranging from conspiracy to possession of stolen firearms.

In court, Avery apologized and said he had a problem with alcohol at the time of the plot.

Maynard's attorney said his client was instrumental in bringing an indictment against Barefoot. Maynard, his attorney said, was at a fork in the road at the time he helped prosecutors and "had a chance to become a criminal or a productive citizen" and "chose to participate in society."

Barefoot was arrested in 2002 after federal and local authorities raided his home near Benson and found 25 firearms and bomb-making equipment. He also was charged with murder. He is in Central Prison in Raleigh.


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  • Justin T. Oct 18, 2007

    I thought Harnett County was the home of the KKK. There used to be a KKK hotline number there. Klan members would give out cards with the number on it to kids who would then distribute the cards to the rest of us middle-schoolers.

    We would call the hotline and laugh and laugh. It is hard to believe that they could successfully pull of a terrorist plot.

    When I told my dad about this, he said it best... "don't join a club to hate other people."

    I mean, the KKK has always been around in NC but the only people I knew that were in it were pretty pitiful.

  • Salty Oct 18, 2007

    do they not realize that their acts enrage americans of all colors and economic status? when trying to recruit support and followers, you must create ideals people can identify with, a community of support, and retain young people for the groups future success. they say ridiculous things, meet in fields and meth labs, and then use their youngest members to carry out their most convictable and otrocious offenses. at the rate they are going, the will eliminate themselves in due course. hopefully sooner than later!

  • Salty Oct 18, 2007

    Johnston County, home of the KKK. All of these White supremacy groups are total retards.

  • BUCKEYEnNC Oct 18, 2007

    Cpt O and Bronzegoddess40: Ca'mon! It's a well-documented fact that African-Americans receive harshed sentencing in our court system. There are alot of factors involved. The lack of particpation of Af. Ams. registered voters in many areas being one of them. Comparing what happened in Johnston cty to the Jena 6 is like comparing apples to oranges! It is a shame that they only got a year and a day!

  • tiredofgovtwaste Oct 18, 2007

    No matter what you call this its wrong and one year and one day is a joke. they need more time and the folks of johnston county should be p o'd about it.

  • talkabout Oct 18, 2007

    "talkabout: This was not a personal fight between this group of people and Steve Bizzell the person. They were mad at the sherriff and not letting them march. They were mad at his position. His position is the government. They were going to attempt to blow up the courthouse and last time I checked, the courthouse is government property as well."

    I can see you point. I also can see how this is a very grey area. If they were going after ALL courhouses and ALL sheriffs, that would be a more profound political statement and would, IMHO, better fit under the category of Terrorist Plot. According to the article it seemed to be a very specific attack against one person and they were willing to tkae out the whole building to get him. The fact that he IS a government official and the building is also government property just kind of seems to be an "oh by the way, he ws also a...XYZ" I can see both side though.

  • happy Oct 18, 2007

    Capt Obvious: I didn't feel singled out. No worries. I do feel bad when an article is so misleading. When I commented, I only knew what was in front of me. It took 5 seconds of research to see that the article is incorrect.

    Personally, I don't think any of these characters are upstanding individuals BUT that doesn't make them deserving of false allegations in the media.

    talkabout: This was not a personal fight between this group of people and Steve Bizzell the person. They were mad at the sherriff and not letting them march. They were mad at his position. His position is the government. They were going to attempt to blow up the courthouse and last time I checked, the courthouse is government property as well.

  • talkabout Oct 18, 2007

    talkabout: the definition of terrorism is as follows.

    "The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons."

    So, is it clear to you now why this was a terrorist plot?

    **** Actually, no it is not clear. These people were after Bizell for not allowing them to march in a parade. Their intention was not to coerce society or the government for ideological or political reasons. They were embarrased and wanted revenge against the ONE person that casued thie embarrassment. Seems like WRAL used the phrase "terrorist Plot" incorrectly here.

  • Capt. Obvious Oct 18, 2007

    Happy, I was not trying to single you out. That was awful nice of you to research and show everyone here that jumped to conclusions how naïve and ignorant they are. Thank you.

  • happy Oct 18, 2007

    morthanwords, I owe you an apology. I googled their names and came up with an article in the news and observer that states, "Federal prosecutors indicted Daniel Leigh Barefoot, 22; Sharon Renee Barefoot, 40; Jonathan Ashley Avery, 26; Jonathan Maynard, 22; Marvin Glen Gautier, 53; Michael Anthony Brewer, 35; and Rossie Lynwood Strickland, 57, for conspiring to possess and sell stolen firearms."

    You have every right to be angry that this article is misleading. I stand corrected and I apologize.