The third of three men accused of trying to acquire thermite and pipe bombs to attack federal agencies wanted to restore the government to the way he believes it should be, an FBI agent testified Monday in U.S. District Court.
The defense attorney for Terry Eugene Peace invoked “Dungeons & Dragons” when questioning the agent, wondering if his client was acting out a fantasy.
Attorneys questioned FBI special agent Adam Rowland for more than an hour Monday before U.S. Magistrate Walter E. Johnson found probable cause and ordered Peace held without bond.
Peace, 45, along with Brian Edward Cannon, 36, and Cory Robert Williamson, 28, all face a charge of conspiracy to receive and possess a destructive device. Rowland has testified that all three have admitted they wanted to obtain explosive devices and carry out guerilla-style attacks.
Cannon and Williamson were ordered held without bond on Friday.
According to Rowland, Peace hoped his attack would spark others and “bring back government to the way they thought it should be.”
Confidential informants approached agents in January about the defendants. That led agents to investigate the defendants and ultimately arrest them Feb. 15 when an informant met them in Cartersville to transfer the explosives.
Peace was wearing a bulletproof vest when agents arrested him, Rowland said.
All three men lived at Peace’s home in Rome, where they planned the attacks against infrastructure, the Transportation Security Agency, Department of Homeland Security and federal Emergency Management Agency, Rowland said.
“He talked about infrastructure and then talked about police stations and MRAPs,” Rowland said, referencing Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles.
Under questioning by defense attorney Whitman Matthew Dodge, Rowland said he knew Peace and the militia group he’s associated with have Facebook pages. Dodge then tried to ask Rowland about his client’s online gaming habits, mentioning “NationStates,” which Dodge compared to a modern day “Dungeons & Dragons.”
“NationStates” is a game that allows players to create their own nation, choosing what type of government it has.
Dodge told the judge he wanted to question whether his client was merely fantasizing or role-playing, though Johnson cut short those queries.
Peace served almost 25 years in the military as a combat medic — a career that emphasizes obedience to the government. He committed no violent act in a crime created by the informant, Dodge argued.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Buchanan disputed Dodge’s version of events. Peace told agents that he ordered the destructive devices, received them and intended to use them.
“It’s important to know that the defendant is charged with conspiracy,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Buchanan said. “That conspiracy is to possess destructive devices.”