United States

Man Who Claims Sovereign Citizenship Convicted of Triple Murder

A man who claims he is a sovereign citizen and therefore not subject to U.S. laws is headed to prison for life.

A jury convicted Erick Schute of the murders of three men in Morgan County, West Virginia, in June 2016. Police said Schute shot three neighbors after accusing them of stealing.

During the eight-hour manhunt that followed, police put a judge in hiding. Schute had a history of threatening judges he’d faced before.

He was taken into custody in Pennsylvania.

Schute’s attorney said they didn’t argue he is a sovereign citizen, claiming self-defense instead.

Sentencing is set for Sept. 12, but there is no possibility for parole.

Sovereign citizens are people who reject their U.S. citizenship and don't recognize laws, taxes and other types of government authority.

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