CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – A federal sharpshooter had tax evader Ed Brown’s head in his crosshairs and was ready to pull the trigger during a failed attempt to arrest Brown at his rural New Hampshire home two years ago, the agent told a federal jury on Thursday.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Edward Recor said that moments after Ed and Elaine Brown were tipped off about the June 7, 2007 raid, he watched through his telescopic sight as Brown appeared in a turret at his fortified home, raised a .50-caliber rifle and pointed it down the driveway. Recor said he and other agents backed off after Brown lowered his weapon.

Recor’s testimony came in the third day of trial on federal charges that Ed Brown, 66, and Elaine Brown, 68, barricaded themselves in their Plainfield home for nine months with a stockpile of weapons after being convicted of evading federal taxes in 2007.

Recor said he trained his sight on Brown’s left temple and waited for Brown to lift the rifle to his face. U.S. Attorney Arnold Huftalen asked Recor what he would have done if Brown had made that move.

“I would have had to fire,” said Recor.

Huftalen asked Recor, an expert marksman, if he could have made the 70-yard shot.

“Absolutely,” he said.

Recor was part of a sniper team assigned to cover other agents who intended to arrest Brown at his mailbox. The plan was foiled when a Brown supporter walking in the woods stumbled upon them.

Four months later, Brown and his wife thought they were sharing pizza and beer with a group of supporters who came to visit. Before dinner was over they were in handcuffs.

U.S. Marshal William Robertson and three other agents, who posed as sympathizers to the Browns’ anti-tax cause, were welcomed into the couple’s home Oct. 4. After a few hours, the agents sprang into action.

“I made eye contact with my team to let them know it was fixin’ to happen,” said Robertson. He then gave the signal word, “party,” and the agents grabbed the Browns.

Ed Brown had a pistol in his waistband. Mrs. Brown screamed obscenities at the men after her arrest, said Robertson, and was carrying a pistol that she pointed at the agents when they first arrived.

At one point during their dinner conversation, Robertson said Brown threatened to go to war with the police.

“Mr. Brown said, ‘They are afraid to arrest me. If they arrest me, people are going to die,'” Robertson testified.


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