Grand Jury Expands Indictment of Branch Davidians
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A federal grand jury issued an expanded indictment Friday of surviving Branch Davidian cult members in the killing of federal agents at their complex near Waco, Texas.
The indictment accuses two female cult members and 10 members of cult leader David Koresh’s so-called ″Mighty Men″ of conspiracy to murder federal officials and murder of such officials, as well as lesser charges.
Koresh created the ″Mighty Men″ unit ″to prepare for the ‘war’ with the United States,″ says the indictment, which replaces several indictments returned from April through June.
Eleven of the defendants were already in custody, and one of the women, Ruth Ottman Riddle, was arrested Friday, authorities said.
The violence began Feb. 28 when about 100 agents of the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms attempted to raid the cult’s complex to search for illegal weapons and arrest Koresh.
Cult members learned of the raid in advance and ambushed the agents, killing four: Steven D. Willis, Robert Williams, Conway C. LeBleu and Todd W. McKeehan. A half-dozen cult members were also slain.
That set off a 51-day siege of the complex led by the FBI. It ended April 19 after the FBI punched holes in the buildings and poured in tear gas. The complex erupted in flames and burned to the ground. Eighty-five cult followers died, most of them in the fire. Some apparently were shot before the fire began, including Koresh and his top lieutenant Steven Schneider.
The new indictment adds the murder and conspiracy charges against six defendants - Riddle and ″Mighty Men″ Woodrow Kendrick, also known as Bob Kendrick, Norman Washington Allison, also known as Delroy Nash, Paul Gordon Fatta, Graeme Leonard Craddock and Renos Avraam.
Avraam and Riddle previously had faced no charges.
The other six defendants who were accused earlier of murder and murder conspiracy are Kathryn Schroeder and ″Mighty Men″ Brad Eugene Branch, Kevin A. Whitecliff, Clive J. Doyle, Jaime Castillo, Livingston Fagan.
While the indictment accuses them specifically in connection with the Feb. 28 ambush of the ATF agents, it says unidentified conspirators fired on tanks and other vehicles driven by FBI agents April 19.
The burning of the complex, the indictment says, was an idea finalized April 18 by Koresh and Schneider.
The plan ″was communicated to other residents of the compound,″ the indictment says. It accuses Koresh of giving instructions to spread flammable fuel around the complex on learning of the FBI teargassing plan, but does not identify who gave the instructions to start the fire.
The indictment does not eliminate any charges from earlier indictments.