Pair allegedly were plotting for months to kill police officers as a way to attract attention to their anti-authority "Sovereign Citizen" movement. Damian Trujillo reports.
One of the “Sovereign Citizen” suspects arrested in Las Vegas in connection with a plot to abduct, torture and kill police is a registered sex offender from Northern California and has lived in various parts of Silicon Valley.
Las Vegas police arrested David Allen Brutsche, 43, and Devon Campbell Newman, 67, of Las Vegas, near Las Vegas on Tuesday. It's a case that’s grabbed national attention because the two were allegedly plotting for four months to kill police officers as a way to attract attention to their anti-authority "Sovereign Citizen" movement. The plot was thwarted before anyone was harmed.
Brutsche was convicted in 2001 and 1993, on charges of indecent exposure and molesting a child respectively, Megan's Law records show. Both those cases stem from Santa Clara County in the heart of Silicon Valley.
And once, in July 2009, he was engaged in a six-hour standoff with police when he wouldn't come out of his camper and hadn't registered sex offender, Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Det. Sgt. Clint Tada told NBC Bay Area on Friday.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Newman listed herself as a high-ranking Scientologist where she has been director of public relations since 2010. A spokesman for the Church of Scientology and Celebrity Centre Las Vegas didn't immediately return a phone call on Friday seeking comment.
Newman's profile also shows her as the liaison for A Drug Free World, the Youth for Human Rights Foundation and the Way to Happiness Foundation.
The “Sovereign Citizen” movement is described as a loose group of Americans who reject government, U.S. currency and answer only to “common law.”
The FBI, however, deems "Sovereign Citizens" as domestic terrorists. Federal agents have linked "Sovereign Citizen" groups with deadly shootings in Louisiana and Arkansas.
Brutsche’s criminal history mostly documents arrests for sexual assault. Over the last two decades, a review of Santa Clara County court records shows that Brutsche had been arrested at least five times.
In 2008, records show Brutsche was living on Monterey Road in San Jose, when he was arrested for allegedly pushing and choking his fiancé along Capitol Avenue, though that case was dismissed for lack of evidence. In another domestic violence case, his address showed he had been living on The Alameda in Santa Clara.
A glimpse of an anti-police mentality appears, if only slightly, on July 14, 2009.
Brutsche had locked himself in a camper in the 16400 block of Bennett Way in Los Gatos and told family members he wouldn't be taken alive, according to Los Gatos-Monte Sereno police. Police were there because someone had tipped them off that he hadn't registered as a sex offender.
After six hours, he finally agreed to come out, but only after he had suffered many self-inflicted wounds - scars that are referenced all over his body, according to court records.
At some point, Brutsche moved to Las Vegas, and has used the alias Greg Williams, according to his criminal profile on the Megan’s Law database.
Las Vegas police say that he and Newman attended training sessions about sovereign citizen philosophy, shopped for guns, found a vacant house and rigged it to bind captives to cross beams during interrogation, and recorded videos to explain their actions and why officers had to die, police said at a news conference on Thursday.
At every step an undercover officer was with them, documenting and recording the alleged plot. That officer met with the couple at least 30 times where he learned that they “expressed deep hatred” for police and targeted officers “for perceived violations of Constitutional Civil rights” during traffic stops, a police report said.
"They were furthering their 'sovereign citizen' ideology by committing criminal acts toward law enforcement," Lt. James Seebock said at the news conference. "The suspects believed that once the first kidnapping and execution was accomplished, they would be compelled to keep repeating their actions, kidnapping and killing multiple officers."
When Brutsche and Newman appeared in court on Friday, both told the judge they didn’t recognize his authority to keep them in jail.
So noted, the judge told them.
Then he ordered them back to jail pending a preliminary hearing on Sept. 9.
NBC LA's Jason Kandel and AP's Ken Ritter contributed to this report.