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Gov’t Seeks Dismissal of Charges

February 9, 1998

BOISE, Idaho (AP) _ The federal government on Monday sought the dismissal of a state involuntary manslaughter charge against the FBI sharpshooter who killed Randy Weaver’s wife at Ruby Ridge six years ago.

The Justice Department petition filed in federal court argued that Lon Horiuchi was protected by the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution so he cannot be subject to state prosecution for actions in the line of duty.

``It is imperative that federal officials be protected from state prosecution in such circumstances because without the protection ensured by the Supremacy Clause, rigorous enforcement of federal law would be severely chilled to the detriment of the general public good,″ the petition said.

Horiuchi was among dozens of federal agents who surrounded Weaver’s remote mountain cabin in the Idaho Panhandle in August 1992 in an attempt to arrest Weaver on an illegal weapons charge.

Weaver’s 14-year-old son, Sam, and deputy U.S. Marshal William Degan of Quincy, Mass., were killed in the gunfight that touched off the 11-day siege. Vicki Weaver was fatally shot by Horiuchi on the second day.

Both Randy Weaver and family associate Kevin Harris were acquitted in 1993 of federal murder and other charges in connection with the siege. Weaver was also acquitted of the weapons charge that had prompted federal agents to confront him.

Last August, five years to the day after Mrs. Weaver’s death, prosecutor Denise Woodbury filed the involuntary manslaughter charge against Horiuchi. The Justice Department had earlier declined to prosecute Horiuchi.

The prosecutor also charged Harris with murder in Degan’s death, but that charge was dismissed on a double-jeopardy ruling.

On Jan. 7, U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge moved the case to federal court. Horiuchi pleaded innocent. His trial is scheduled for March 10.

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