Duane Ehmer is Going to Prison
Hellboy will be Without His Companion
by Gary Hunt
Duane Ehmer was convicted of a felony, willfully damaging the refuge, or depredation of government property, by using a refuge excavator to dig two deep trenches, and misdemeanor trespassing; tampering with government vehicles and equipment; and destruction and removal of government property during the 41-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
For these, he was sentenced to serve one year and one day in prison and to pay restitution in the amount of $10,000. The restitution is based upon a claim that a burial ground was disturbed, though no evidence of a burial or an artifacts have been presented. So, just words by someone who wasn’t there is sufficient to steal Duane’s hard earned money, when he gets out of prison.
During his sentencing hearing, he read a prepared statement:
“I am a proud American veteran and father. I am active in my community and a small business owner. After ten years of good service I left the Army I was too broken for military service any longer, I had to start over with a hearing loss and PTSD and other issues
“I tried to isolate myself from the world just focusing on what was important in life and starting over. I taught myself to weld and started a welding business. I built my business for about ten years before the Refuge.
“When I went to the refuge I went because I heard on the radio that terrorist had taken over the Burns wildlife refuge.
“This wasn’t the case. I went there expecting to stop terrorists in my backyard. This is why I went to the Refuge. I had no background information about the Bundy’s or the Hammond’s before I got there. I had never heard of anything to do with the militias or anything else.
“Once I arrived at the Refuge, I quickly learned that what was happening on the ground didn’t match what was being told to anyone. The Hammond family came the first morning I was there, and I learned their story first hand. So, I tried to talk to the locals about what was going on. I knew old cowboys never begged for help. But they begged us to stay. I also knew it was going to get real ugly and dangerous. After being there three or four days, I returned home.
“I love my daughter very much and valued her freedom. I prayed about what to do, and I felt God telling me to return to the Refuge with my horse and flag. So, I did. I knew it was a symbolic fight and there was no way to match the government’s firepower. But I would do what I could to get the truth out. I was going over everything in my head from my military experience to meeting the Hammonds, and it broke my heart to see old cowboys beg for help
“The memories of the early days of my service to this nation kept running through my mind. I found myself in a terrible situation; a deadly situation where loss of life on both sides of the fence would have been extremely high.
“We were in fear of our life at the Refuge. We weren’t allowed to talk about the military buildup or the team of snipers on the ground during our trial. Yet law enforcement never came to the Refuge, never tried to contact me or anyone that I was with. I was never told to leave the Refuge. The FBI never called me, and I know they could have as my phone number was on my truck and hat.
“As the fear escalated and after my friend, LaVoy, was murdered, a lot of the people at the Refuge were frantic and panicked and fled. Fear had sunk into their actions. I knew in my heart we faced certain death from an overwhelming force. So, I used the track hoe and dug a hole to jump into when the FBI started shooting.
“This offered a small sense of protection to the others. I believed in all honesty we all would be killed. We all talked about what to do. We were told that we all would be shot if we approached the check-point.
“I volunteered to go to the check point and find out. I went with my horse and horse trailer When I got there, I was stripped and searched just like I was in a war zone. And then the FBI asked me if I was willing to help the situation. They asked me to put my life on the line and go back to the Refuge and try and get my friends out alive.
So, I went back in. I told the guys that were still there that they could pass through the check-point, if they didn’t have a warrant on them, and go home. They also told me I would be free to go home. When I did go back to the checkpoint, I was stripped again and then arrested, without a warrant. I was promised freedom. But even after I helped them, they had lied to me.
It comes as no surprise that the government said he could go free if he went back to talk to the others. However, when he did as asked, and then returned to the checkpoint, he was arrested.
It is unfortunate that we have allowed the government to continue to operate without honor or integrity; when they can imprison you for lying, though from Congress to the lowly employees of the FBI, they can lie to us with impunity.
However, Duane, a kind spirited man, has decided that if he has to leave his beloved horse, Hellboy, he will do so in a style appropriate to his character. On November 18, 2017, he posted the following on Facebook:
“This is a big announcement I came home after the sentencing and asked Hellboy if he was up to one last ride, so he gave me the nod, like horses do. I will be riding across the state carrying the flag to turn myself in at the federal prison in Sheridan. One last ride!
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