A federal jury in Las Vegas did not return any guilty verdicts Tuesday against four men accused of taking up arms against federal agents during the Bundy Ranch standoff in 2014.
Jurors dealt government prosecutors a stinging defeat in the case when, after four days of deliberations, they returned not-guilty verdicts on the most serious charges and deadlocked on a handful of others.
Richard Lovelien of Oklahoma and Steven Stewart of Idaho were acquitted on all counts and walked out of court Tuesday night free after spending more than a year in prison.
“Both Ricky and I were teary-eyed,” Las Vegas defense lawyer Shawn Perez said of the verdict, “I was shaking … I have gotten not-guilty verdicts before, but this was really special to me.”
Two other defendants, Eric Parker and O. Scott Drexler, both of Idaho, were acquitted on the most serious charges of conspiracy and extortion, but jurors failed to reach unanimous verdicts on weapons and assault charges.
Both men could be allowed to go free after a detention hearing scheduled Wednesday morning. The court ordered both defendants to be released to a halfway house until Wednesday’s hearing.
“(Parker) is getting released as we speak,” Las Vegas defense lawyer Jess Marchese said Tuesday night. “He’s ecstatic.”
After the jury’s decision, U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro called for the hearing without any motions from the defense, Marchese said. “We didn’t bring it up,” he said.
Federal prosecutors had little to say about the verdicts.
“While we are disappointed with the verdicts, we thank the jurors for their service,” Trisha Young, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Las Vegas, said in a statement Tuesday. “At this time, the government has not announced its decision regarding the retrial of Eric Parker and O. Scott Drexler.”