PARKERSBURG, W.Va.-(WTAP) Update: 4/14/2016 5:30 P.M.
Before he was officially sentenced, Thomas Deegan again stated he did not intend a violent takeover of the West Virginia capital in Charleston.
"The three of us who sued the state, and are still in suit with the state would not support any violent actions because we do not wish to see bloodshed," Deegan said at his sentencing Thursday.
TODD: Indeed, in a conference call discussing a plan to take over state government, Deegan indicated he believed the more people who showed up in support, the more likely the action would be peaceful.
He said that, in a subsequent phone discussion, one he says was not allowed into evidence, he clarified, even apologized for his earlier statements, calling them, a slip of the tongue. The judge wasn't buying it.
"When he said, 'those of you of military background know how to deal with them," Judge Jeff Reed admonished Deegan. "That wasn't a slip of the tongue. That was planned language."
Deegan, whose home confinement was revoked, also was sentenced to five years for manufacture of a controlled substance: a sentence longer than for the threat to the state capital.
"What he did, you can argue, was much worse than trying to create all this violence," said Sam Rogers, Assistant Wood County Prosecutor. "And all the court can give him is one to three."
Deegan says he does not intend to appeal his conviction.
UPDATE 4/14/16 10:44 AM
Thomas Deegan gets 1-3 years behind bars for making terroristic threats and five years for a previous drug charge.
The judge ordered these sentences to be served consecutively.
He's already spent 626 days in jail and will get credit for that.
UPDATE 4/14/2016 9:10 AM
Click on the LIVE Stream link on the right side of the page to view the hearing.
UPDATE 3/18/16 10:21 AM
The jury finds Thomas Deegan guilty of making terroristic threats.
The jury began deliberations at 9 A.M. Friday, and reached a guilty verdict just an hour later.
Deegan maintained he never made a threat to take over state government. That was after comments the jury heard him make in a mid-September conference call.
"They actually got to hear and see the evidence, as the crime was being committed by Mr. Deegan and the people he was with," Assistant Prosecutor Sam Rogers said after Friday's verdict. "So they heard the threats being made, not only to West Virginia state officials, but to law enforcement.
Deegan, a week after the September 14th conference call, took part in a second call, one in which he indicated the planned takeover was off.
In his closing statement Thursday, Deegan said the jury should consider that as well.
"This is America, the land of the free and the home of the brave," Deegan said Thursday. "How many of you are going to stand up to the state and tell them no, we're not going to accept this. Just because someone spoke on a call."
A separate issue, but discussed in hearings as much as the terrorist charge, has been Deegan's home confinement since 2013 on a previous charge.
"The court would find the defendant did commit a crime while he was on home confinement, and that he did, in fact, violate the terms of his home confinement," Judge Jeffrey Reed told Deegan Friday.
Deegan's sentencing is set for April 14th.
UPDATE 3/17/16 3:14 PM
Closing statements are made Thursday afternoon in the Thomas Deegan trial. Jurors will begin deliberating Friday morning to decide Thomas Deegan's fate.
The words used to describe Thomas Deegan since his arrest last September. B
ut the main source for those words is a complaint filed at that time by west virginia state police. words, in his closing statement, Deegan denied.
"I never stated, and you did not hear me state in any of these calls that I was a 'sovereign citizen', or a part of any 'soverign citizen movement', Deegan told the jury Thursday. "They could not provide evidence of either when pressed on. Why would that be?"
So what is the source of that title? Deegan, at length, questioned the trooper about that. The trooper cited documents filed in various courts, including the West Virginia Supreme Court.
"We're not talking about the documents you filed on me or the court system, "West Virginia State Police Trooper Kevin Williams told Deegan in cross-examination Thursday morning. "We're talking about documents you filed in countless other courts and other documents that are public record."
The prosecution says, sovereign citizen, or not, Deegan's statements in a video and three recorded calls, one of them introduced by the defendant himself, stated his motive was clear: take over West Virginia's state government, with violence, if he didn't have enough people joining him.
"We go to the ballot box, we elect officials or run for office ourselves," Sam Rogers, Wood County Assistant Prosecutor, said in his closing statements. "We don't go down to Charleston, West Virginia and bring a bunch of people with us, to force these people out of office, and shoot police officers when we see them, because they're enemies."
Deegan says he never made a direct threat to state government officials. Rogers says a filing he made with the state supreme court disputes that, and that he only backed off from the threat, after he knew he would not get enough support.
A story we've heard before: a man upset with the court system. But Thomas David Deegan, recordings indicate, wanted to do more than just fight the system. he wanted to overthrow it.
"I set about in (2008), after some problems with family court, to find out why children were being put last in this country.," Deegan said in his opening statement Wednesday.
He laid out in a two and a half hour conference call last September his plan to take over West Virginia's state government.
"We are at war here. We have been declared enemies of our nation," a voice identified as Deegan tells conference call participants from throughout the country. "An overwhelming show of force will dictate there will probably not be a shot fired."
More than 200 people, from throughout the country,are said to have taken part in that conference call, many of them expressing support. But as Deegan said in a Skype interview days later with a Canadian interviewer, a lot of them later backed off.
"They did get scared once they found out it was infiltrated, and they didn't want to put their friends in harm's way. That was never what this was about; this was about giving our children an actual future."
Nonetheless, the intercepted conference call was enough for law enforcement to take action.
"There was additional manpower transferred from the academy, and all over the state to the capital, to assist with making sure the grounds were secured, West Virginia State Police Trooper Kevin Williams said in testimony Wednesday.
After his arrest, in a telephone conversation from prison heard by the jury, Deegan expressed concern about his fate, saying he could receive several years in prison.
UPDATE 3/15/16 4:01 PM
The Deegan trial will be livestreamed. You can watch it by following this link: Thomas Deegan trial livestream
The trial is set to start at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, March 15.
Twelve jurors are slated to serve.
Updated: 3/15/2016 2:50 P.M.
The trial of Thomas David Deegan, accused of trying to overthrow West Virginia's state government, began Tuesday with jury selection.
The process began Tuesday afternoon.
Update: 3/01/2016 5:45 P.M.
On March 15, Thomas David Deegan is to stand trial on charges of making a terrorist threat.
Tuesday, Deegan and a judge had yet another exchange about his arrest and confinement.
The discussion at first was about admission of several conversations involving Deegan from jail, and in a conference call found on the internet.
The court is trying to find a way for Deegan to hear the former conversations in his prison cell, and trying to determine if the latter audio is admissible in his trial.
"All I want are the rules of the game, because I don't see the rules," Deegan said, arguing the circumstances under which he was arrested last September and being tried. "Everybody's making up the rules as they go along. I'm looking at the contract that says it's the supreme law of the land."
"You can sit there and say you don't understand the document all you want to," Judge Jeff Reed later responded. "It's written in plain English. And the government printing manual you attached to one of your later pleadings is not binding on this court or anything to do with this case."
Deegan, who says he is a "sovereign citizen", and that his legal name is "Thomas House of Deegan", also argued the person on the recordings and who is named in the indictment is not him, since he is referred to as "Thomas Deegan".
At one point, Deegan discussed not being present at his trial.
Judge Reed acknowledged he could do that, but also said that would mean he would not be able to question witnesses, since he is representing himself with assistance from defense attorney John Oshoway.
The judge did find Deegan competent to stand trial, noting the "creativity" in some of his motions to the court indicated he was aware of the charges against him and that he was capable of thinking for himself.
UPDATE: 2/19/2016 5:13 PM
Accused of trying to overthrow West Virginia's government, a Mineral Wells man appears back in court. Just last month Thomas Deegan got a trial date, then the state filed a motion to have Deegan's home confinement from a previous drug case revoked.
Friday, the state filed a motion to continue the home confinement motion due to one of their three witnesses being sick. Deegan wasn't opposed to the continuance.
Judge Jeff Reed did rule on a number of motions filed by Deegan in the courtroom. All six were denied as the judge says they don't meet the rules of the court.
There was a bit of an issue in regards to Deegan's counsel and who would represent him.
"Are you going to represent yourself in this case or not?," asks Judge Jeff Reed.
"I don't understand what you're saying," says Deegan.
"What is it that you don't understand? You're either your counsel or you're not your own council," says Reed.
"I just don't understand the way you're putting it. I'm here as a real man and I don't want anybody talking for me. I can speak for myself," says Deegan.
Judge Reed is continuing to allow Deegan to represent himself.
Deegan's trial is still set for March 15 and the motion to revoke his home confinement is set for the same day.
Updated: 1/26/2016 2:10 P.M.
A trial date is set for Thomas David Deegan.
He was indicted earlier in January, for allegedly attempting to overthrow West Virginia's government.
Deegan did not enter a plea, so a "not guilty" plea was entered for him in court Tuesday.
His trial is currently set for March 15th.
Circuit Judge Jeff Reed also granted Deegan's request to represent himself in his case.
John Oshoway, the attorney appointed last fall to defend him, is now appointed on a "standby" basis.
A hearing is continued until February, on a separate motion to have Deegan's home confinement from a previous drug case revoked.
UPDATED: 12/11/2015 11:53AM
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - A hearing is continued for a man accused of trying to overthrow West Virginia's state government, but no one says why.
Supporters and family members of David Deegan waited nearly an hour for Deegan's scheduled court appearance while another hearing was in progress.
They were told by a court bailiff the Deegan hearing was continued. The Wood County Prosecutor's office gave no further details.
The hearing was not specifically about the current charge.
It had to do with a motion by prosecutors to revoke Deegan's home confinement from a previous drug conviction.
A hearing on that motion last month was continued to Friday.
No new hearing date has been set.
Update: 11/12/2015 5:15 P.M.
Parkersburg, W.Va. (WTAP)-Before his arrest in September, Thomas Deegan had a previous conviction in a drug case, and his sentence included home confinement.
Now, although he is in custody, there's a motion to have that home confinement revoked.
Deegan, as he has done in previous court hearings, said he did not understand the motion, arguing he had not yet been convicted of the current charge.
That involved an alleged plot to take control of West Virginia's state government.
"That I don't understand," Deegan told Circuit Judge Jeff Reed. "I'm reading it quite clearly...I haven't been convicted; I haven't even been indicted yet."
"The other side has to prove, through evidence," Judge Reed told Deegan, "that you did commit that act. But you don't actually have to be convicted of that underlying offense."
Although Deegan discussed the motion with the attorney appointed by Wood County Magistrate Court to represent him, he repeated he still did not accept John Oshoway as his counsel.
While Deegan continued to say that, however, he appeared more cooperative than he was during his two October appearances in magistrate court.
The circuit court hearing on the revocation is set to resume December 11th.
Update: 10/15/2015 6:50 P.M.
A Wood County grand jury will now decide whether Thomas Deegan will stand trial for trying to overthrow West Virginia's government.
Deegan's preliminary hearing Thursday began with Deegan telling Magistrate Robin Waters he did not want the representation of the attorney appointed him at his October fifth hearing.
That attorney, John Oshoway, said he was asked to act at Deegan's direction.
"It would be inappropriate under any circumstances," Oshoway told the magistrate, "and under those circumstances, he has advised me he is not willing to accept me as his appointed counsel."
Deegan, meantime, told the magistrate of his efforts-and those, we understand, of some supporters-to serve papers to both Waters and Prosecutor Jason Wharton.
"You and Jason today should have been served by mail for refusal of cause and challenge," Deegan said. "I have others here that jail denied me to serve until now. So now, everyone is served."
Outside the courtroom, a former U.S. Senate candidate who took part in discussions with Deegan, denied charges characterizing Deegan as a terrorist.
"He's a patriot, a true patriot; he doesn't work for me," said Phil Hudok, Constitution Party Candidate. "Thomas doesn't work for anybody that I know of. He considers himself a child of God, so I guess he's working for God."
Unlike October fifth, this time, the hearing went on, with Deegan's case referred to the Wood County Grand Jury, after testimony from a West Virginia state police trooper.
Update: 10/6/2015 5:45 P.M.
West Virginia's Attorney General discusses a local case; one in which the state was the target of an alleged terrorist threat.
Attorney General Patrick Morrisey was in Parkersburg Tuesday.
He says its his office's responsibility to represent the state when any of its officials are the subject of threats.
"We will defend the state of West Virginia, the governor, all state agencies that are made," Morrisey says. "Everyone has to follow the law; no one is above the law. We're going to continue defending the state to ensure their interests are protected."
At his hearing, Deegan said the state is a defendant in a case filed with the state supreme court.
He added a federal civil rights complaint has been filed in Charleston.
Magistrate Robin Waters and prosecutor Jason Wharton both told us Tuesday they have not been served with such a complaint.
UPDATE: 10/5/2015 5:21 PM
Two weeks after his arrest, a Mineral Wells man appears in court for a preliminary hearing, but it didn't go as planned after the defendant became uncooperative with the magistrate judge and claimed he did not understand what he was there for.
Thomas Deegan is charged with threats of terrorist acts after state police tells us he sought to help remove several state government leaders from their offices at the state capital.
Deegan said repeatedly he didn't understand anything the magistrate judge told him and he didn't want to go forward without the assistance of council. Deegan does have the right to have a court appointed attorney, which he did not accept, but was given anyways.
Deegan also told the court it would be served this week.
"There's a federal civil rights complaint that was filed Friday in Charleston. You'll be served today or tomorrow as well as the trooper that arrested me. And then there is an ongoing case in the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals in which the entire state and all the subdivision are all defendants. So there seems to be some conflicts here," says defendant, Deegan.
Deegan has been appointed attorney, John Oshaway and his preliminary hearing will be continued.
The court says he is to have no contact with Kanawha County or the state capitol.
At the hearing Deegan said he wants to face his victim or accuser and it's unclear who that individual is.
Deegan will remain at the North Central Regional Jail.
9/24/2015 6:20 PM
Accused of trying to overthrow state government...
A Mineral Wells man is accused of threatening to commit a terrorist act.
Thomas David Deegan is described in a criminal complaint as "a self-proclaimed sovereign citizen".
State Police say, in three separate calls this month, Deegan sought help to remove several West Virginia government leaders from their offices at the state capital.
He also suggested the individuals would be tried for treason, with death as the punishment in at least one case.
During the conversations, Deegan called West Virginia a foothold for the soverign movement to take back the United States.
The complaint says the calls were made from his Mineral Wells home.
Deegan, along with two other individuals, including former 3rd party political candidate Phil Hudok, filed a complaint with the West Virginia Supreme Court earlier this year, and amended September 4, accusing several state and federal officials of various crimes.
Deegan is being held in the North Central Regional Jail, with bond set at $300,000.