Terry Eugene Peace, Brian Edward Cannon and Cory Robert Williamson, all of Rome, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Walter Johnson in the six-minute hearing where each pleaded not guilty. The three were indicted March 12 by a federal grand jury on one count each of conspiracy to receive and to possess unregistered destructive devices.
The trio was arrested Feb. 15 near the intersection of Marketplace Boulevard and State Route 20 by agents and personnel from the Bartow-Cartersville Drug Task Force, Federal Bureau of Investigation Atlanta Field Division, Bartow County Sheriff’s Office and others.
From Jan. 1 to Feb. 15, Peace, Cannon and Williamson, who were members of a militia, took part in online communications with members of other militia groups about an operation to attack government facilities, including law enforcement agencies, according to the indictment. The men attempted to recruit other members using telephone and online chat forums.
During the month and a half period, the three sought destructive devices, specifically pipe bombs, to carry out the plan, and according to the indictment, none were registered to possess such a device.
In a Jan. 23 online chat, the document alleges Peace spoke about a mission against the government to take place in February. “[Peace] encouraged members of the militia to review guerilla warfare tactics, small unit tactics, accumulate supplies, and prepare family. Defendant [Peace] advised that ‘guerilla warfare primary targets included TSA, DHS, non-emergency FEMA, road blocks, etc,’” the indictment reads.
On Feb. 5, the three men traveled to Tennessee to meet with a source. The source spoke with Peace on Feb. 8 about needed resources. Peace asked the source for a thermite device that could “go through the engine block” of an armored fighting vehicle. Thermite is composed of metal powder fuel and metal oxide.
The indictment stated Peace also requested “twelve (12) pipe bombs” constructed for “maximum fragmentation.”
Also on Feb. 8, Cannon said in a telephone conversation that the group was planning to “... ‘start the fight’ with the government by sabotaging power grids, transfer stations, and water treatment facilities,” the document reads. This, Cannon said, would result in martial law, triggering other militia groups to join the fight.
The source told Peace about the same time they could provide the pipe bombs and two thermite devices, the indictment reads. When the source apologized for not being able to secure three thermite devices, Peace replied, “No problem[,] two will be fine. We want the first to be pretty!”
During a Feb. 13 telephone call, the source again confirmed Peace wanted the devices, with Peace saying, “Most assuredly, they are a key element” of the plan.
On Feb. 15, the source arranged to meet Peace, Cannon and Williamson in Cartersville. The criminal complaint filed in February states that the FBI provided the source with 12 inert pipe bombs and two thermite devices, which he had agreed to provide.
Surveillance teams watched the subjects load rifles into Peace’s truck in Rome before driving to the Cartersville location. Once at the meeting place, the source placed the box containing the thermite devices into Peace’s vehicle, taking out instructions and reading them before giving the instructions to Peace, the complaint stated. As the source went to place another box into the vehicle, the three suspects were taken into custody.
According to the complaint, a search of the truck turned up three rifles. Peace and Cannon both were armed with pistols, with Peace wearing body armor and Cannon wearing a tactical carrier for body armor.