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Michigan Court of Appeals rules white nationalist group leader’s original guilty plea, sentence stands

The Michigan Court of Appeals has upheld the original sentence handed to the leader of a white nationalist group known as “The Base.”

Justen Watkins, from Bad Axe, pleaded guilty to felony firearms charges plus conspiracy after a December 2019 incident where a Dexter family was terrorized at their home.

Prosecutors say Watkins used intimidation tactics and posted messages to members of his group encouraging them to target the family. Investigators also discovered evidence that the group was conducting “paramilitary training” at abandoned state corrections facilities in Caro.


Watkins filed to withdraw his plea after being sentenced to a minimum of 32 months in prison plus a second consecutive sentence of two years. The Tuscola County Circuit Court granted a re-sentencing motion because it agreed there was ambiguity in the plea.

Now, the state appeals court has thrown out that decision and the original sentence stands.

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