Posted: October 24, 2003
Wexford County, Michigan, resident Norman David Somerville, a member of the Michigan militia, one of the oldest militia groups in the United States, pleaded innocent to a three count federal indictment in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids on October 21, 2003.
Somerville, 43, was arrested at the Home Depot in Cadillac, Michigan, on October 10 following several reports by neighbors of machine gun fire at his 40-acre compound in Wexford County's Antioch Township. He is charged with illegal possession of a machine gun, being a marijuana user in unlawful possession of four military rifles, and attempting to manufacture marijuana.
Court documents say Somerville was planning to kill police officers in retaliation for the fatal shooting of Michigan militia member Scott Allen Woodring on July 13 by state police. Woodring had killed a Michigan State Police officer a week earlier during an armed standoff, then escaped, but was killed in a later encounter with police. Court documents also reveal that a source told investigators that Somerville wanted to cause a car accident with his Jeep, which he was trying to equip with a machine gun, in order to shoot responding police officers.
In a search of Somerville's compound, authorities located an underground bunker, manuals describing guerrilla warfare, thousands of rounds of ammunition, hundreds of pounds of gunpowder and several explosive devices, including small land mines and flare explosives.
Lieutenant William Elliott of the Michigan State Police said Somerville had grown increasingly vocal in his threats to local authorities. "He believes he had certain God-given rights that the government interferes with," Elliott said. In a brief appearance in court last week, Somerville said that "there's a quiet civil war going on in this country."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lloyd Meyer considers Somerville to be "an armed and dangerous man and should be detained as a threat to the community." Somerville will be held without bond until trial.