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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Militia Duo to Face Conspiracy Charges

MACON, Georgia -- Two men accused of setting up a primitive bomb factory near Atlanta will appear in U.S. District Court in Macon on Monday to face conspiracy charges in a case that briefly sparked security fears over this summer's Olympic Games.


Electrician Robert Starr III, 34, and plumber William McCranie Jr., 30, both members of the 112th Volunteer Battalion of the Militia at Large of the Republic of Georgia, will be charged with conspiracy and possession of an unregistered explosive device.


The Macon Telegraph on Sunday quoted Starr's mother, Helen, as saying her son had "gone out of his way not to let something like this happen" by updating a law enforcement agent in central Georgia on the militia's activities.


"It was almost like they were friends," she said. "Here lately, he'd been told somebody in his group was disgruntled and something was gonna come of it."


She denied reports that her son planned to target this summer's Atlanta Olympics. "That's so far out in left field," she said. "About all I know him ever saying about [the Olympics] was that it'd be a bad place to drive in."


The two men have been held in jail since their arrest Friday by agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Law enforcement officials said they had been told not to discuss details of the case.


McCranie and Starr were described as members of the 112th Volunteer Battalion. Starr was the founder of the group, whose members numbered about a dozen, according to ATF agents. The militia group is said to have strong anti-government leanings.