A white supremacist who wants to turn a small North Dakota town into an Aryan enclave is representing himself against terrorizing charges, while his younger friend who was also charged has asked for a public defender.
Sixty-two-year-old Craig Cobb and 29-year-old Kynan Dutton are accused of terrorizing people in Leith with guns over the weekend. They said they were patrolling the town because of violence and harassment directed at them.
They have been ordered held without bond and each are charged with seven counts of terrorizing Leith residents and on five of those counts involving guns could face mandatory minimum sentences of two years in jail for each. They each could face a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of 35 years if convicted.
The Bismark Tribune reports that federal authorities are also considering charges.
Cobb and Dutton are being held in the Mercer County Jail in Stanton because Grant County doesn't have a jail. Their next court appearances haven't been scheduled.
The two men have said they moved to Leith to take over the town's government. They had posted new signs with racial slurs and flew swastika flags on Cobb's property in town on Friday, the Bismarck Tribune reported.
As reported in September, Cobb and Dutton are members of the U.S. National Socialist Movement, who recently revealed that they plan to turn the town into an all-white enclave. The group is America's largest neo-Nazi organization, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups.
Town residents said they called for help Saturday because Cobb and Dutton were confronting them with guns in a threatening and intimidating manner.
Leith City Councilman Lee Cook said he and another man had just arrived at Cook's home when Cobb and Dutton came over with guns and stood at the edge of the property. Cook told the newspaper that Dutton had his finger on the rifle's trigger, but he said the guns were not aimed directly at them.
Both Cook and the other man called 911.
In a text message to the Tribune before he was taken into custody, Cobb said: "Because of the many violences (sic) and harassments against we (sic) and the children, we have commenced armed patrols of Leith."
Grant County Sheriff Steve Bay said he knew that sooner or later the situation in Leith would escalate and he's relived that no shots were fired.
For safety reasons, Cook said he moved his family out of Leith weeks ago. He said he was in town to install security cameras on his home.
Cook said he doesn't think Leith is peaceful, even with the two men in jail.
Dutton was already on bond for a charge of disorderly conduct. He is accused of disrupting an Oct. 18 city meeting with profanity and racist comments.
Cobb has purchased 13 properties in Leith and has said he plans to take over the town government with others who share his views.
Last week, The Daily Mail revealed that DNA tests showed Cobb has African-American ancestry: he's 14 percent black.