Burns Chronicles No 42
Fabio Minoggio aka John Killman
by Gary Hunt
November 20, 2016
For the sake of this article, I will use the name that those at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (MNWR) knew him by, John Killman. However, his real name is Fabio Minoggio, from Switzerland, and currently living in Las Vegas, Nevada, or northwestern Arizona.
There is little information in his Fabio Minoggio Facebook page, though it appears that he was born in Pallanza, Italy. He claims to still live in Locarno, Switzerland. He may have been born January 1, 1971, as implied by a date shown on the John Killman Facebook page.
At this point, we only have what he said to the defense attorneys, when asked why he went to the refuge. He told them, “I am in this because of my love of gun safety,” according to the lawyers’ notes. He also said he didn’t want to miss a “moment in history.*” This claim doesn’t bear fruit, since, while on the witness stand, in response to a question about expenses, he said “I was going into harm’s way, so I had to buy ballistic vests”. From whom did he sense a threat?
The Prosecution has refused to identify him as an informant. The judge then told the FBI that if he lied on the stand, they had an obligation to point out any such lies.
Whether he contacted the FBI and volunteered, or was contacted by the FBI, we may never know. I have tried calling Minoggio, but he “is not accepting calls at this time”, in a recorded message at the number that was initially used to contact him to testify.
How he was found and subpoenaed to testify is another interesting aspect of this story. After Jeff Banta testified about a guy with a French accent had come to the Refuge and started training people in various military activity, such as team combat, team movements as a group, evacuating friendlies from a car, hand-to-hand combat, and firearms safety. He had that French accent and was sort of an anomaly, compared to the others who had come to the Refuge.
This began raising questions. The government, in discovery, had provided 129 “CHS Reporting Document” reports, constituting 230 pages, though they were so heavily redacted that there was no way to identify, without a bit of sleuthing, just who the informant making the reports were. However, among those who had met “Killman”, someone had obtained his phone number.
At this point, Neil Wampler’s attorney, Lisa Maxfield and Shawna Cox’s standby attorney, Tiffany Harris, began pursuing an intensive search for the illusive John Killman. A reverse look-up of the phone number showed the phone registered to Fabio Minoggio. Once others confirmed that Minoggio’s Facebook picture (above) was Killman, it was a matter of finding him and getting him on the stand, having no idea what his testimony might be. It was a long shot, but having ferreted out an informant just might be sufficient to persuade the jury that things were not just as the Prosecution had claimed.
What made the effort worthwhile is the fact that the Prosecution had already shown a short video Burns-Pieter_video_2016-01-24–16-31-39.mp4 at least four times, during their presentation to the jury. That video, though only 29 seconds long, was, in the eyes of the jury, suggestive of the violent intent of the occupiers. If the video could be considered in the proper light, perhaps that would be a major point of consideration by the jury.
According to the date/time stamp on the copy that I have obtained, the video was shot on January 24, 2016, at 4:31 pm, though that may be Central Time.
A subpoena was issued and served. Minoggio contacted the attorney identified on the subpoena and stated that he didn’t know anything about why they wanted to have him testify.
On Friday, Oct. 14, Maxfield received a voice mail.
“I don’t know who this Mr. Wampler is,” the caller with the foreign accent told her, elongating the name so it sounded like “Woompler.” He also mentioned getting a subpoena “about some kind of Burns thing.”
The caller identified himself as “Samuel” and said he was in Arizona. He couldn’t just leave his life and drive to Portland, he said. “I don’t even know what this is all about,” he added. *
The Defense’s case was to close on the 17th, so a scramble began to arrange to get Minoggio to Portland in time to testify.
* – Maxine Bernstein’s article, “Who was John Killman“, published on November 5, 2016 at oregonlive.com.
The Court had provided an attorney on Minoggio’s behalf, and he was advised of his rights. He chose not to stand on the Fifth Amendment, so he took the stand. Some portions of that testimony follow.
Tiffany Harris examining:
Q. Mr. Minoggio, did you go to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on January 23rd, 2016?
A. Yes, ma’am.
Q. Were you present at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge each day between January 23rd and January 26th of 2016?
A. That’s Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday; right.
Q. Well, it’s three consecutive days?
A. Yes, ma’am.
Q. And was January 26th the last day that you were at the refuge?
A. I left when LaVoy Finicum was killed.
Q. When you were at the refuge, did you use the name John Killman?
A. Yes, ma’am.
Q. Did anyone at the refuge refer to you as Mr. Minoggio or Fabio or anything like that?
Q. Between January 23rd and January 26th did you communicate with the government about events at the refuge
A. yes, ma’am.
Q. Were you paid for?
A. That I don’t want come across as splitting hairs, but paid is not the answer. Reimbursed to do that.
Q. You were reimbursed to do that?
A. Expenses to get there.
Q. Over and above your operating costs, did you receive any other form of compensation?
A. No. It happened that my truck broke down and I was going into harm’s way, so I had to buy ballistic vests, which increased the — the reimbursement substantially.
Q. Okay. But so your testimony today is that aside from expenses and costs that you incurred, you did not receive any other form of payment or income or remuneration from the government for your information?
A. No. It was freely given and — and I wasn’t enticed or anything.
Then, AUSA Barrow, in cross-examination:
Q. Sir, you testified you were reimburse forward expenses did what were those expenses?
A. It was gas money for my old truck. I — I broke down with my — mudrock truck. I bought a ballistic vest because I was fully aware of what I’m doing, but it was a substantial risk to get harmed, so I invested into that, but also invested into food to stay there and so on and so on.
So, we really do not know if he received any additional payment, or not. We do know that he was there and reporting, and, that he had done some training. However, the Prosecution chose not to revisit that 29 seconds that they had relied so heavily on, earlier.
What is interesting about the testimony is that Judge Brown sustained most of the Defense objection while overruling some objections made by the Prosecution. Perhaps Judge Brown has finally recognized the deceitful nature of the government’s case.
CHS (1023) Reports
Now, let’s look at what information he did give to the government. Minoggio’s first report as a Confidential Human Source (CHS) was made on January 23, 2016. “XXXX” indicates pertinent redactions.
CHS arrived in Burns this evening. CHS observed a white pickup truck bearing a big III% sticker and an Arizona license plate. The truck traveled on A Street before stopping at a road block. The two occupants of the truck, one appearing to be John Ritzheimer, appeared to have a conversation with two Police Officers positioned in front of the courthouse.
At a gas station, the CHS had a conversation the attendant. The attendant stated many people in the town are happy, as this time a year most of the people in the town are without work. According to the attendant, there is plenty of work due in the town due to the occupation of the refuge. The attendant feels that as long as everyone is happy and no one gets killed, he is not opposed to the situation at the refuge.
The CHS had a difficult time finding a hotel room. It seems that the towns people know that most of the hotel rooms are occupied by FBI agents and Police Officers. When the CHS found a hotel room, the hotel took cash payment for the room and did not ask for ID or the CHS’s license plate number.
After entering a local bar, the CHS struck up a conversation with four individuals who were wearing 5.11s, tactical wear, one point slings, and their shirts which bore US flags and molon labe stickers. One of the individuals stated his name is Joe. Joe is from Arizona and is involved in the patriot movement. The CHS asked Joe if he has gone to the refuge, but Joe said no. Joe said he and the other individuals have set up a medical station three miles away from the refuge, to be used in the case there is a shooting. XXXX Joe advised the CHS that Curtis is the commander of the Oregon III%ers.
At a local restaurant, the CHS spoke to two law enforcement officers. The officers said that they are from out of town and are just passing through. The CHS said the same.
So, we can see that he wanted to paint as complete a picture as possible, on all aspects, to the FBI.
His next report was on January 24, 2016.
Reporting from Oregon (First day at MNWR). First set of photographs from first day at MNWR attached.
This morning, while at the Safeway in Burns, a Safeway employee told the CHS that the town is full of Police and FBI. The Safeway employee pointed to two male individuals in the Safeway and identified them as law enforcement. The employee advised the CHS to stay away from the Horseshoe Inn because it is filled with law enforcement.
Each day when the women who are staying at the refuge go into town, they drive by the Horseshoe Inn and take pictures of the vehicles believed to be law enforcement, in order to track the law enforcement presence in Burns.
Payne is telling everyone that there are two FBI HRT teams at the location where they had confronted three FBI SWAT members days ago.
MEDICAL TENT, WATCH TOWER AND “SURPRISE ATTACK TEAM”:
While at the medical tent area inside the Narrows RV park near the refuge, the CHS met up with one of the individuals the CHS conversed with in Burns last night. This individual stated that he is part of “Trinity Tactical.”
At the refuge, CHS was able to climb up into the watchtower. CHS had a conversation with a young male individual who was on watch duty in the tower. This individual stated that he calls out over the radio every vehicle that enters the refuge, including the license plate number. The individual then told the CHS that Joe O’Shaughnessy and the others at the medical tent area are there as a “surprise attack team.” xxxx
While in the tower, the CHS observed an SKS rifle and an old AR-15 rifle.
GUNS, RANGE AND BACKGROUND CHECK:
After arriving at the refuge, CHS was quickly accepted and was put on guard duty. CHS believes the easy acceptance was partly due to the CHS bring food to the refuge. The people at the refuge claim they have 250 to 600 supporters on the ground, but the CHS only counted a total of 50 at the refuge. According to the CHS, everyone at the refuge has a side arm. CHS observed several handguns including ten 1911s, GIocks, a Springfield, and a Taurus. CHS believes there are forty to fifty long guns at the refuge. However, people at the refuge are told to not carry them around, but to keep the rifles close. No large caliber long range rifles were observed by the CHS.
There is a shooting range located in an area northwest of the refuge. Payne is in charge of the range. Payne wants people at the refuge to shoot and conduct live-fire training at the range, so he can judge their shooting and tactical abilities. Payne had intended to conduct a tactical training session in the morning, but soon after people started shooting at the range, the shooting had to be stopped after environmentalist protesters arrived at the main gate check point.
XXXX The background check was conducted by “Dwayne”, and mostly entailed name dropping of people in the patriot community and knowing someone who is already at the refuge, which the CHS does.
XXXX O’Shaughnessy advised that he is staying at the medical tent area near the refuge.
CHS did go to the shooting range area in the afternoon. Prior to the CHS arrive at the range, live fire training was taking place. During CHS’s time at the range, only dry fire tactical drills were conducted. Later, after leaving the range, CHS knows that more live fire drills took place because the gun shots could be heard. CHS estimates that 500 rounds of ammunition were shot at the range after CHS left. Seventeen to eighteen people were at the range while CHS was there. The vast majority of the people on the range were between 20 and 30 years of age.
Four AR-15s were seen by the CHS at the secondary gate checkpoint for the refuge. CHS has not spent time at the primary gate checkpoint.
BLAINE AND MELISSA COOPER:
CHS met Blaine and Melissa Cooper at the refuge, as well as their two children, who stay in the kitchen area of the refuge at all times. CHS also met “Wakkeem” who identified himself as the individual who liberated Blaine’s and Melissa’s children. CHS stated there are a total of six to ten children currently at the refuge.
The people at the refuge claim they have 250 to 600 supporters on the ground, but the CHS only counted a total of 50 at the refuge.
People at the refuge are discussing taking over two more ranches, which include two million acres of land. The goal is to eventually have 500 ranchers sign a new Declaration of Independence.
There is an overall feeling of paranoia and nervousness at the refuge. There is purported reliable intelligence that leads the refuge occupants to believe that at any time, two hundred law enforcement officers will “attack” the refuge from the north, from over the lake.
Five four man tactical teams have been established, named alpha through echo. Each team has a leader and there is also an overseeing individual for all five teams. There is a media group and then the Bundy’s have a headquarters area in one of the buildings at the refuge.
Dwayne LNU, the individual who conducted CHS’s background check is tell people that he spotted a sniper team, dressed in military-style clothing, between the refuge and the lake located to the north of the refuge. Moreover, Dwayne LNU stated that his horse is trained to detect sniper teams.
Ritzheimer left the refuge today at 3:00 pm and will be traveling to Arizona to spend a week and a half with his family.
The refuge occupants have taken flares that they found at the refuge and have attached them to propane tanks. The plan is to shoot these devices with tracer rounds to set them off. NFI
You can see that he has done an excellent job of providing information regarding defenses, anticipated attacks against the occupants, and other information that would give an assaulting force a tactical advantage.
Minoggio filed two more reports on the 24th that contained only the two additional sets of photographs from first day at MNWR.
Then, on January 25, 2016, he reported:
An individual driving a vehicle bearing license plate number [omitted] (NV) has a PS90 rifle, a 308 sniper rifle and an AK-47 at the refuge. This individual is bragging that he has 5.7 caliber armor piercing rounds that he purchased from his cousin who is in law enforcement.
CHS observed two large pairs of night vision binoculars at the refuge.
Refuge occupants are again shooting at the range today. A few individuals brought body armor carriers with them to the range.
Tonight, individuals from the refuge will go to restaurants in Burns, sit next to law enforcement officers, and take pictures of the law enforcement officers’ faces.
Payne is meeting with refuge occupants to discuss ways to make law enforcement look like idiots.
CHS also reported observing a vehicle bearing license plate number [omitted] (Wisconsin) at the refuge.
His final report was on January 26, 2016.
XXXX Melissa Cooper and the children are leaving the refuge. The people at the refuge are very nervous and panicked.
XXXX people at the refuge state panicking and rumors of Ammon Bundy’s arrest and hospitalization started to spread. CHS tried to calm everyone down, as people starting talking about defending the refuge.
The people at the refuge are on high alert and ready to use force to defend the refuge. Everyone is geared up and all the armor piercing rounds at the refuge have been handed out and are loaded into the weapon at the refuge.
Jeff LNU “aka Doc” (25 years old), Carl LNU, and Dwain LNU make up the current leadership at the refuge.
Blaine and Melissa Cooper left the refuge immediately afterword of Ammon’s arrest started to spread.
Karl LNU, one of the current leaders on the refuge along with Dwaine LNU, advised they are planning a defensive strategy on the refuge.
Karl LNU’s phone number is [omitted]
Dwaine LNU’s phone number is [omitted]
Minoggio’s final report assured the FBI that they would be able to contact those who he believed to be in charge, for the negotiation teams.
Finally, we get to the diligence, or perhaps Divine Intervention, that played a role in the
not guilty” verdicts in all but one of the charges against the Defendants then on trial.
Juror #4, the same one that called out another juror for bias, in an exchange of emails, including a statement and then some answers to questions. This exchange was reported in Maxine Bernstein’s article, “Transcript of Juror 4’s emails“, published November 3, 2016, at oregonlive.com.
Q. Wondered if there were turning points or particular moments in the trial that stuck out for jurors in helping the jury reach the not guilty pleas.
A. Turning points? Let me begin by speaking for myself before I attempt to recall those of others. I expected there to be a witness to the January 2nd meeting at Ye Olde Castle before the protest/rally that would confirm the prosecution’s assertion of intent to impede, and the absence of such evidence became a seed of doubt that grew. I expected that there must be proof of conspiracy between Ammon and Ryan Payne (most logical link, owing to their initial visit to the Hammond’s place in early November) but he wasn’t even called for either side, nor were there any phone calls, emails, etc. that would demonstrate agreement here. These two major holes in the evidence record proved to cause insurmountable doubt for me.
Others said that, while the evidence record was not adequate, certain moments turned them. One said they did a full 180-degree turn when they realized there were six informants that went unnamed on the refuge during the occupation, and the choice of the prosecution to allow that much room for mysterious influence there (remember Fabio?) was decisive. One said that the doctrine of adverse possession seemed to govern every thought, word, and deed of the ‘leadership’ such that it could not be deemed intent to impede federal workers. Another said that the repeated objections to the reading of the constitution became a wedge issue for them. Those turning points are the most distinct ones I can remember, and so I’ll leave it there.
So, now we have a picture of a foreigner who, for some unknown reason, decided to catch “a moment in history”. Is it possible that he was an agent for, and paid by, a foreign government? That is well within reason, as we have agreements with a number of countries where they can spy on our people, though we cannot; and we can spy on their people, though they cannot. However, the information can be given freely to the country that has its people spied upon. Perhaps that would explain that he received only expenses, and probably was not bound to obeying our laws, as the other informers were bound not to violate. Therefore, I will close with Mr. Minoggio’s final words, “I’ll leave it there.”
November 26, 2016 – update