In an exclusive letter to the Tribune in which he defiantly maintains his innocence, the head of the Crawford County-based Braveheart Militia has explained for the first time why he didn’t fight the federal firearms charges that have put him behind bars for 35 months for possessing illegal machine guns.

On Oct. 4, 2005, Darrell Sivik Sr., 57, was sentenced to federal prison for possession of unregistered machine guns to be followed by three years probation.

He pleaded guilty Jan. 31, 2005, to two counts of possession of unregistered machine guns. Each count carried a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Federal sentencing guidelines put Sivik’s sentence at 30 to 37 months based on the severity of the crime and on his criminal history.

Sivik was an outspoken critic of abuses of government power, a New World Order and the United Nations. He was operating a low-powered radio station, Braveheart Radio 88.3 FM, associated with the Patriot movement.

He was one of the organizers of United Nations Day protests held in late October each year in which the U.N. flag was burned.

Sivik was arrested March 29, 2004, following a raid on his West Mead Township home and gunsmith shop by federal Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents and other law enforcement.

He is one of six people arrested in northwestern Pennsylvania and northeastern Ohio by federal authorities in connection with illegal machine guns and other illegal weapons.

Federal authorities said Sivik was the leader of a local anti-government group — Braveheart Militia — and armed its members with illegal machine guns.

They said Sivik also had talked of a “hit list” of government officials.

According to authorities, Sivik espoused violent rhetoric saying it was “time for the ammo box rather than the ballot box,” and had stashed arms at a hunting camp in Forest County so he could fend off federal agents in case of a confrontation.

“Yes, I did what the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said, but if our Constitution was in effect I would not be guilty of anything,” Sivik said in the letter to the Tribune. “It (the Constitution) has been suspended since 1933 by the great communist FDR. Also under common law, if there is no victim, no harm done, no damages, then there is no crime. Common law came to us from God’s law and is the basis of our Constitution.”

“The so-called hit list never existed,” the letter continued. “The only list that I had was a list of people that owed me money.”

Sivik said the reason he didn’t go to trial was because of his health.

“I had planned to fight this with a trial by jury, but after having my bail denied, experiencing five heart attacks and then the subsequent bypass surgery, my heart never fully recovered,” the letter said. “Then I required a pacemaker and defibrillator and was advised by my doctors not to try to take my case to trial, due to the stress.”

Federal authorities released Sivik on house arrest in July 2004 to undergo open-heart surgery. He remained out of prison to recover at home. After his guilty plea in January 2005, Sivik had a heart defibrillator implanted when his health didn’t improve. He is being held in a specialized federal prison in Butner, N.C., because of his heart condition.

Sivik claims his health also affected his defense strategy.

“That also limited my defense because that made it impossible to even get a fair trial, but stopped any possibility of jury nullification, which my lawyer informed me that he himself could not even bring up,” the letter said. “If he did, he could be fined, jailed or disbarred. What is jury nullification, you might ask? That’s when the jury trips the law as well as the defendant and can throw it out if it goes against the Constitution.”

Marshall Piccinini, the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the Sivik case, offered little comment.

“After receiving the sentence, I would hope Mr. Sivik would come to terms with the wrongfulness of his conduct,” he said.



Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com





Five others were indicted in federal firearms probe



Darrell Sivik Sr. was the last of six people who either pleaded guilty or were found guilty on federal firearms charges stemming from the alleged manufacture or possession of illegal machine guns in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Of the other five indicted in the federal probe:

n George Bilunka, 61, of Atlantic, pleaded guilty in federal court Aug. 17, 2004, to one count of unlawful possession of firearms. He was sentenced Dec. 6, 2004, to serve 33 months in federal prison followed by three years probation. Bilunka had faced a maximum of 10 years in prison followed by three years probation and a $250,000 fine.

n Terrance Willaman, 53, of Cochranton, was convicted in federal court on Oct. 20, 2004, on a charge of possession of an unregistered machine gun. He was sentenced Jan. 26, 2005, to serve 27 months in federal prison followed by three years probation. He had faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison followed by three years probation and a fine of $250,000.

n Chester E. Morrell, 60, and Daniel F. Morrell, 34, a father and son from Conneaut Lake, each pleaded guilty Oct. 27, 2004, to illegal possession of a .30-caliber, belt-fed machine gun.

Chester Morrell was sentenced June 9, 2005, to three years probation. He died Sept. 13, 2005.

Daniel Morrell was sentenced Jan. 25, 2005, to 18 months in prison followed by two years probation.

The Morrells each faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, three years probation and a fine of $250,000.

n Michael Cole, 48, of Dorset, Ohio, pleaded guilty April 20, 2005, to illegally transferring homemade land mines. He was sentenced to 26 months in prison followed by three years of probation. He had faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison followed by three years probation and $250,000 in fines.



Braveheart Radio is still on the air



While some people involved in the local Patriot movement have been jailed on firearms violations, its local radio station remains on the air.

Mike Wagner is the lead local broadcaster of West Mead Township-based Braveheart Radio 88.3 FM, a low-power station associated with the movement.

Wagner helped Darrell Sivik Sr. set up the station back in 1998. While most of the station’s programming is syndicated material featuring topics such as the New World Order and alleged abuses of government power, it had a local show that Wagner had co-hosted with Sivik until Sivik’s arrest in March 2004.

Wagner had been doing a local show on Saturdays from 6 to 8 p.m. in addition to the satellite programming, but with his job as a long-haul truck driver, he hasn’t had the time.

Also, the station is still trying to upgrade its equipment, Wagner said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

Wagner hopes to resume a local show “within the next few weeks” on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.



Sivik: ‘No harm done ... no crime’



Editor’s note: Following is the full text of a letter sent to the Tribune by federal inmate Darrell Sivik. See story on Page A1. The Tribune realizes some of Sivik’s statements may be viewed as unfactual, incorrectly worded or misleading.

Sivik, 57, was sentenced Oct. 4, 2005, by Senior U.S. District Judge Maurice Cohill Jr. to 35 months in prison for possessing unregistered machine guns.

Sivik pleaded guilty Jan. 31 to two counts of possession of unregistered machine guns. Each count carried a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Federal sentencing guidelines, however, put Sivik’s sentence at 30 to 37 months based on the severity of the crime and on his criminal history.

Sivik also will serve three years probation following his release. He is currently incarcerated at Butner, N.C., federal prison, chosen because of its medical facilities.



It is now time that I finally respond to the government charges that led to my arrest and raid of my shop and home on March 29, 2004. When I first started to speak out against the corruption in government on all levels (federal, state and local), I knew that someday the powers that be would come after me. But that was the price that I was willing to pay.

With God on my side and guarding me, I could no lo longer just sit by and watch this country be destroyed by those that claim to be trying to save it. That includes Congress, the presidents, vice presidents, Cabinet, Supreme Court and other judges.

The sale of this country has been going on for a long time. The DuBai Port sale, the Long Beach Naval Air Station to Red China, the various trade agreements are all leading us to ruin. The war in Iraq is a farce and unnecessary. Since when are we the appointed police of the world. And when did God give us the authority to remove a country’s leadership just because they don’t work with us or deal with us? If we the people don’t stand up and stop this, heaven help us.

Yes, I did what the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said, but if our Constitution was in effect I would not be guilty of anything. It has been suspended since 1933 by the great communist FDR. Also under common law, if there is no victim, no harm done, no damages, then there is no crime. Common law came to us from God’s law and is the basis of our Constitution.

The so called hit list never existed. The only list that I had was a list of people that owed me money.

I had planned to fight this with a trial by jury, but after having my bail denied, experiencing five heart attacks and then the subsequent bypass surgery, my heart never fully recovered. Then I required a pacemaker and defibrillator and was advised by my doctors not to try to take my case to trial, due to the stress. That also limited my defense because that made it impossible to even get a fair trial, but stopped any possibility of jury nullification, which my lawyer informed me that he himself could not even bring up. If he did, he could be fined, jailed or disbarred. What is jury nullification, you might ask? That’s when the jury trips the law as well as the defendant and can throw it out if it goes against the Constitution. That makes the jury the most powerful institution of all in this country, not the judges. Of course, they don’t want you to know this.

Even today the Supreme Court has come out and stated that they were going to start looking at international law when making their decisions. That is treason in itself. They are to make the decision based on the Constitution, not international law. We fought a war in 1776 to set us up as an independent nation.

We have sold our heritage and we are selling ourselves to the new world order, and our government is leading the charge.

Our founding fathers would be, if they were alive, leading a new revolt to throw the scum out. So, in closing, we in Pennsylvania can start to take back our country, right now, by voting out all incumbents and voting in the Constitutional Party. We owe it to our founders to try.

“God bless the republic. Death to the new world order. We shall prevail.” May God bless us.

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