Refuge occupier Shawna Cox released from jail

Judge said she didn't want Cox to act on impulse and return to the refuge

Shawna Cox, 59, was the only woman occupier arrested during a traffic stop along Highway 395 on January 26. (MCSO)
Shawna Cox, 59, was the only woman occupier arrested during a traffic stop along Highway 395 on January 26. (MCSO)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – One of the individuals arrested by the FBI in connection to the armed occupation of federal property in Harney County was released early from custody just before the start of the weekend, KOIN 6 News has learned.

Shawna Cox, 59, of Kanab, Utah was arrested with 7 other militants during a traffic stop along Highway 395 on January 26.

She was released from the Multnomah County Detention Center at 8:15 p.m. on Friday, Jan 29. According to Multnomah County Sheriff spokesperson Lt. Steve Alexander, the federal hold on Cox, was sent via “teletype” to the sheriff’s office from the United States Marshals Service.

There is some discrepancy on whether Cox should have been released Friday evening or not. According to staff at the clerk’s office, Cox should not have been released until a formal order was signed. However, Eric Oss, a U.S. District Court deputy clerk, said that if a judge’s order is given in open court, it is considered an order that must be followed by the Marshals.

Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Eric Wahlstrom said in an email, “I was advised that a clerk from our records division sent the teletype for her release prematurely, not based on a new order after court from the Judge. She is being supervised/monitored by a Pretrial Release Officer so I don’t have anything more on her status.”

Staff at the United State District Courthouse in downtown said by phone on Monday that it appears Cox was released on a judge’s verbal order.

The final order, with the judge’s actual signature, and that of Cox’s, was not signed until Monday. Clerk staff said it appears that Cox should have remained in custody until the formal order was processed.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie F. Beckerman on Friday ordered Cox’s release “on conditions.”

Those conditions were not filed with the court until around 11 a.m. Monday.

As part of her release Judge Beckerman ordered that Cox not commit any offense in violation of federal, state or local law while on release while she is pending trial. Cox must cooperate in the collection of a DNA sample, if the collect is lawful. She has been ordered to notify the court of any change in address and telephone number while on release. Cox must appear at all proceedings. Additionally, the judge ordered that Cox report to U.S. Pretrial Services Office.

Brian Crist, Chief Pretrial Services Officer confirmed that Cox is now under the agency’s supervision.

Cox must also “find and maintain” gainful full-time employment, approved schooling or a full-time combination of both while on release. Her travel has been limited to Kanab, Utah, Fredonia, Arizona and Multnomah County, the latter for court appearances only. Cox will not be allowed to travel internationally while the case is pending.

The judge ordered that Cox neither own, possess, nor control any type of weapon while on release. Cox will also be under GPS monitoring and is under “home detention,” according to court documents.

Cox is also prohibited from having any contact with any of the co-defendants in the case, including Ammon Bundy.

A spokesperson for the United States Attorney’s Office was not available for comment regarding Cox’s release. Cox’s attorney, Tiffany Harris, has not returned phone calls or emails seeking comment.

On Tuesday, Ammon Bundy is scheduled to appear in federal court to appeal Judge Beckerman’s order that keeps him in custody pending trial.