Prosecutors are looking to pursue more charges against three men accused of plotting to murder a Bartow County couple to further their group’s white supremacist goals.
The charges would be centered around the theft and killing of a ram by the group in a “Norse pagan ritual sacrifice,” Assistant District Attorney Emily Johnson said, as well as at least one of the men’s possession of a silencer.
The information came out Friday during a bond hearing for two of the three men currently charged with conspiracy to commit murder as well as participating in a criminal gang.
Attorneys for Jacob Kaderli, 19, of Dacula, and Michael Helterbrand, 25, of Dalton, had previously filed a motion for bond in the case.
Attorneys for Luke Lane, 22, of Silver Creek filed a motion for bond late Thursday however Lane was not represented in the Friday hearing.
FBI and Floyd County Police Department investigators stated in an affidavit, the men were affiliated with a white supremacist anti-government group called The Base.
They plotted to kill a Bartow County married couple who had taken part in anti-fascist protests in order to send a message to enemies of The Base.
The Base existed primarily online, according to court documents, although they met up on an isolated property owned by Lane’s family off John Ingram Road in Silver Creek.
So far, seven reported members of The Base have been arrested throughout the country, including several who were linked to paramilitary training on the Floyd County property.
Floyd County Superior Court Judge Jack Niedrach denied the motion to grant bond for the two men and said that puts the case on a fast track to be heard. The judge stated the men must be indicted within 90 days from their arrest or they’ll be entitled to bond. He also stated cases where a defendant has been denied bond take precedence in scheduling.
As of Friday morning, no bond hearing had been scheduled for Lane. His attorney, Emily Matson, said she expected the hearing to be late next week and felt many of the allegations were overblown and inaccurate.
During the hearing, Kaderli’s mother and grandmother spoke on his behalf. They assured the court they would take all precautions necessary to keep him off the Internet and out of trouble while out on bond.
His attorney, John Lovell, said Kaderli had a support system and loving family.
“There is no threat to anyone in the community,” Lovell said.
Helterbrand’s attorney, Radford Bunker with the Public Defender’s office, joined in saying his client’s family in Missouri — where he is originally from — had spoken to the FBI on a number of occasions and would be willing to post bond.
The district attorney’s office opposed letting the men out on bond.
“If they are let out, they will be gone,” Johnson said. “They hid a fugitive themselves.” Another member of the group, Patrick Mathews, is a Canadian national who entered the U.S. illegally and was known to be on Lane’s property for a time.
She said members of the group often bragged about how their membership was international, with ties to the UK.
“We have nothing to debunk the fact that they are still members of The Base,” Johnson told the court saying the men plotted to kill strangers and children. “Basically, they’re domestic terrorists. That’s why we’re here.”
Judge Niedrach asked Johnson why the case is being prosecuted on the state level, rather than the federal level.
“I’m just curious whey it’s not in federal court if the FBI led the investigation,” Niedrach asked.
Johnson replied that since the Floyd County District Attorney’s Office assisted in the case there had been a decision to prosecute it at the state level.