Oregon armed group member would rather die than see prison

A case against the group would likely be presented to a federal grand jury.
By Andrew V. Pestano  |  Jan. 6, 2016 at 9:00 AM
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PORTLAND, Ore., Jan. 6 (UPI) -- LaVoy Finicum, a member of the armed group that seized a government building in Oregon, said he would rather die than go to prison as the FBI is reportedly drafting a plan to end the situation.

The armed group took control of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge building on Saturday after holding a rally in the nearby town of Burns in support of two ranchers convicted of arson. Finicum, a Mormon rancher from Arizona and father of 11, said he would rather be killed than be arrested when asked, NBC News reports.

"Absolutely... I have no intention of spending any of my days in a concrete box," Finicum, 54, said. "There are things more important than your life and freedom is one of them... I'm prepared to defend freedom."

An apparent barricade made up of tractors and trucks was set up Tuesday night on a road leading to the building.

Finicum moved away from the larger group inside the building late Tuesday -- setting up a small camp. He said he moved because he wants officers to find him easily if they are attempting to serve an arrest warrant.

"I do not want the FBI federal agents to have to go running around in the dark, kicking in doors looking for me, OK? I want them to know exactly where I'm at," Finicum added. "I'm telling them right now -- don't point guns at me."

KOIN 6 News reports that the FBI, which is leading the government's response to the situation, is considering taking several steps, including establishing negotiations with the armed group and possibly arresting them.

The case will likely end up before a federal grand jury, which could bring a variety of charges against the group members, a source told KOIN. Officials are still developing a timeline by which to act, hoping the situation ends peacefully.

"No one wants this to go on forever," the source said. "It will not be allowed to go on forever."

"All options are being considered," a second source said. "Ultimately, it is in the hands of the FBI on how to proceed."

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