Daughter reacts to father's federal indictment

Published: Jul. 17, 2014 at 1:00 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2014 at 1:00 AM EDT
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TATTNALL CO., GA (WTOC) - Jean Owens describes her father as "a 60 year old man who goes to work, spoils his grandchildren, and speaks his mind about his country".

She believes his words, combined with his past, have him in trouble and facing prison.

Federal prosecutors announced an indictment against Robert Beecher, III on charges of firearms possession by a convicted felon. The Georgia Department of Corrections website shows he served prison terms in the 1980s and 90s for arson and other charges, but Owens contends her father served his time and has not been in trouble since.

She said her father had frequently posted in web discussions that criticized the federal government.

"He's against many of the new policies, the changes, and he's outspoken about it, and he thinks everybody that's against it needs to be outspoken about it," she explained.

She said he briefly joined some militia groups and others that oppose certain government policies, but quickly broke ties with them when he saw mentions of armed protests and what she described as hints of violence.

Owens believes her father's service in the military, prison record, and online posts made him a potential suspect to federal agents. They investigated him for two years and arrested him in May when they found weapons on his property.

Owens explained the weapons belonged to relatives, not Beecher, and were stored at a home on his property while he lives in an adjacent RV.

"It seems like they arrested him on the weapons charge in hopes a search would turn up evidence on the terrorism and conspiracy stuff," she said. "They seized his computer, maybe thinking they'd find contacts and illegal dealings. But when this went to the judge, its just the weapons charges."

The indictment announcement did not list a trial schedule. If convicted, Beecher could face 15 years in prison.

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