ROME, Ga. -- The killing of a farm animal during what authorities have said was a “ritual sacrifice” during a training camp in Georgia for a white supremacist group has led to charges against five additional men.
Patrik Mathews, William Garfield Bilbrough IV, Brian Mark Lemley Jr., Brandon Gregory Ashley and Duncan Christopher Trimmell were charged last week with aggravated animal cruelty and all but Trimmell were also charged with livestock theft by a Floyd County grand jury, according to an indictment first reported by the Rome News-Tribune. It was not immediately clear Friday whether any of them had a lawyer who could comment on the charges.
Mathews, Lemley and Bilbrough were also arrested in Maryland and Delaware on federal felony charges in January 2020.
Floyd County prosecutors identified the animal, which they say was beheaded during a meeting of the group in October 2019, as a ram. Federal prosecutors have said it was a goat. They've said the men stole the animal and attempted unsuccessfully to kill it with a knife and then ended up shooting it to death and cutting off its head.
The killing happened at a training camp in north Georgia that prosecutors have said was organized by The Base, a white supremacist group that espoused using violence to accelerate overthrowing the U.S. government.
Three other men, all from north Georgia and linked by authorities to The Base, already face charges related to the animal's death and other alleged crimes. Luke Austin Lane, Michael Helterbrand and Jacob Kaderli have been held without bond for more than a year in the Floyd County jail, the News-Tribune reports.
The arrests of the Georgia men were announced in January 2020, a day after Mathews, Lemley and Bilbrough were arrested.
A federal judge in December sentenced Bilbrough, of Denton, Maryland, to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to two counts related to assisting Mathews. Lemley, a U.S. Army veteran from Elkton, Maryland, and Mathews, a former Canadian Armed Forces reservist, have pleaded not guilty to charges including transporting a firearm and ammunition with the intent to commit a felony.
Ashley, of Hayden, Alabama, and Trimmell, of Austin, Texas, weren’t charged in federal court with the other three.