Local News

North Carolinians Contrasts Among Freemen

Posted June 2, 1996 7:00 a.m. EDT

— June 3, 1996 - 9:19 p.m. EDT

Related WRAL Audio Files:A neighbor says he noticed odd behavior by a Johnston Coounty couple now on the Freemen ranch in Montana. Listen toauorReal Audiofile.

FBI negotiators say the six North Carolina residents holed up with 15 others at the Freeman ranch in Montana are contrasts in their passion for the anti-government cause.

Two Four Oaks residents have emerged as leaders of the group since the standoff began in March. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports that the standoff has given Russell Landers and Dana Dudley full opportunity to express their extremist views.

At the other end of the spectrum is the Hance family of Charlotte. The FBI has identified them as people who might surrender peacefully. Steve Hance and his two sons -- James and John -- arrived on the Freemen ranch in February after fleeing North Carolina, where they failed to show up for a March trial in Gaston County on charges of assaulting police officers with a truck. They also face federal fugitive warrants.

Negotiators think they've seen signs that the Charlotte family may be softening in its dedication to the Freemen cause. John Hance has become father to a baby girl back in Charlotte since the standoff began.

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