FBI returns guns to ex-Hutaree member, Tina Stone says jobs scarce despite acquittal

DETROIT (WXYZ) - The members of the Hutaree militia group may have been acquitted of terrorism charges – but some of them are still struggling to rebuild their lives.

7 Action News was there Tuesday morning when the FBI gave one of the members her guns that the feds had seized.

The Hutaree may be disbanded – but the wife of the militia's former leader says the Hutaree will never really die.

"You can't take down an idea.  And the idea was for people to be able to defend themselves, defend the Constitution, and go on with their lives," Tina Stone told 7 Action News Investigator Heather Catallo.

Stone says she recently created this new video – celebrating the acquittal of the Hutaree members on the most serious charges of conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction and seditious conspiracy.  FBI agents arrested Tina Stone, her husband David Stone Sr., his 2 sons and five other men in March of 2010.  Federal prosecutors accused the Hutaree of conspiring to wage war on the government.

Today, the FBI returned Stone's 6 guns, including her AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

Stone and her attorney, Michael Rataj, say they're upset because Stone's gun magazines were not returned with the weapons.  Stone also says when she and her husband picked up their seized belongings from the feds in April, many items were missing – including tactical vests and gas masks.

"We've gotten very little stuff back.  They took 3 large truckloads from Tomer Rd.  We have barely enough to fill up an SUV," said Stone.

Tina Stone will be storing her guns with her brother, because David Stone Senior pleaded guilty to a felony gun charge and can't be anywhere near the weapons.

"The shotgun, one of them, my dad bought me when I first started hunting, so there were very important to get back," said Stone.

Stone says even though she and David Stone Sr. were acquitted of the terrorism charges – life is far from normal.

"I was exonerated from all those charges, acquitted, and it's like nobody knows what acquitted means…  I have not been able to get a job, or even get called on a job interview.  And the same thing goes for David," said Stone. 

"There's nowhere to get your reputation back.  And it's unfortunate.  David Stone tried to get his job back, and couldn't get it back because a contractor wouldn't deal with his former employer if they hired him back. So it's unfortunate and it's sad," said Rataj.

While the Stones are struggling to rebuild their lives, Tina Stone says she plans to write a book about their Christian militia, being locked up, and the federal trial. 

"Everybody said that it was a freedom of speech case. Well that was just a drop in the bucket,  because there [are] other constitutional rights involved, and the main ones [were] the right to bear arms and the right to practice religion.  And we were a Christian militia, and Christianity is a very big part of what we do," said Stone.

Federal prosecutors say, if Stone didn't file a specific claim for Stone's other belongings, then they become "administratively forfeited."  Stone's attorney plans to challenge that – and says everything should be returned because she was acquitted.

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