From the June 2008 Idaho Observer:


County refusal to repair private well ends in siege

Man faces 186 years in prison for defending rural Wisconsin home

In 1978 Robert C Bayliss paid for a Richland County land parcel in rural Viola, Wisconsin, and built a log cabin on it.

Several years ago his well was ruined during a road-blasting project on Hwy G adjoining his property. He could not afford to drill a new well. Later, in 2000, a mail mix-up made it appear to Richland County that his taxes were delinquent. While arguing with the county about that, he sent them a bill for $5,000 to replace his well. The county refused reimbursement, so he did not pay taxes from 2000 to 2006, an amount of $6,509.44 plus interest.

On March 31, 2008, authorities attempted to serve eviction civil process papers. Bayliss responded with warning shots. April 3, 2008, at 9:01, a.m., authorities from all over the state attempted an assault with an armored Bear Cat. The 60-year-old Viet Nam navy sonar technician held his ground. At 4:52 p.m., a third assault with three Bear Cats, a helicopter, plane, IR camera, and PA system deployed firearms and teargas. Bayliss surrendered after his house caught on fire. No injuries were sustained, but the three Bear Cats were damaged. The FBI and BATF were on the scene to secure and clear the area.

Bayliss faces nine counts: Eight felonies including two counts of first degree attempted homicide and is facing up to 186 years of maximum prison time.

Richland County Sheriff Darrell Berglin stated, "It was Mr. Bayliss who decided how this day was going to begin and how this day was going to end," and "Ruby Ridge, Waco, thatís what weíre dealing with here. It was a pretty heavy decision. Iím glad Iím not going to a funeral."

Rumors are circulating that the cost of the operation may approach $500,000. The property was assessed at $30,500 in 2007 and will be auctioned off for a $40,000 minimum bid, without a house.

Non-violent means of dealing with Bayliss were most likely available. A former Viola volunteer firefighter, he is well respected by neighbors and the community. Authorities view him as anti-government. Bayliss is a short-wave radio commentary listener with pro-constitutional views, whose rights have been violated by unethical techniques.

Is there an attorney who will step forward to represent this financially challenged individual whose bail may approach $1 million? Tyranny can only prevail if good men do nothing!!

~With thanks to Brice W. Davis, Ron Paul supporter and farmer from Soldiers Grove, WI, for submitting this report.

Sources include the Richland Observer and Wisconsin State Journal.