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Nation IN BRIEF : ARIZONA

5 in Viper Militia Enter Guilty Pleas

January 01, 1997|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Five members of the self-styled paramilitary Viper Militia, accused initially by government officials of plotting to blow up federal buildings, changed their pleas to guilty. Four members admitted to conspiracy and weapon charges in U.S. District Court in Phoenix as part of a plea agreement. Finis Walker, 42, and David Belliveau, 28, each pleaded guilty to three felony counts. Ellen Belliveau, 27, faces two counts and Donna Williams, 44, one count for their role in the group. A fifth member, Dean Pleasant, 28, chose not to be part of the deal with prosecutors, although he too changed his plea on three felony charges to guilty. The pleas brought to 10 the number of militia members to decide against going to trial. All will receive time in prison when sentenced in March. A trial for the two remaining defendants was scheduled for Jan. 28. Twelve militia members were arrested July 1, prompting President Clinton to praise the effort as averting "a terrible terrorist attack."

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