Local News

2 Sentenced in Johnston Courthouse Terrorism Plot

Posted October 17, 2007 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated October 18, 2007 11:50 a.m. EDT

— 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.