Arrest warrant issued for 3rd member of hate group with ties to Huron County

Warrant tied to break-in with “Base” leader Justen Watkins
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 6:12 PM EDT
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HURON COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - Another person is facing charges in connection with a break-in at a Huron County residence involving members of The Base.

Federal authorities say Justen Watkins is the self proclaimed leader of the white supremacist group with violent inclinations. Watkins is accused of running a hate camp from a home outside of Bad Axe.

He and another man from Taylor are facing charges for allegedly intimidating a Washtenaw County family.

Watkins was released from custody on bond in that case, but prosecutors say he violated the terms by allegedly breaking into a Huron County home and having continued contact with other members of The Base. The court revoked his bond and ordered him back to jail after the break-in.

On Thursday, ABC12 News learned another person is facing misdemeanor charges related to the Huron County break-in.

“It’s certainly been a surprise for all of us, to have the militia so close to us for one thing,” said Megan Capling, who lives near a home suspected of being the former home of the white supremacist group The Base.

The home on Sullivan Road now has new owners. It’s where police arrested the 25-year-old Watkins last year, accused of being the leader of The Base. Investigators believe it is a paramilitary organization, which has proclaimed war against minority communities.

Watkins, along with Alfred Gorman, face felonies, including gang membership for the Washtenaw County incident.

“We hear guns out here all the time, we are a community that likes to hunt, to target shoot, but you could hear that the guns were a little more intense down there and their presence was a little unnerving,” Capling said. “For our safety, I’m glad that they are not there anymore.”

But she and her neighbors are still concerned because about a half mile from the former suspected Base house is the home where 59-year-old Ricky Bailey was shot and killed by two masked intruders. There have been no arrests in that case, which investigators believe is not linked to The Base.

“Nothing has been solved, its a mystery, the murder, we would like to know who killed him,” Capling said.

The Michigan Attorney General’s Office, which is handling the prosecution of Watkins and Gorman, referred questions about the break-in to Huron County Prosecutor Tim Rutkowski. He declined comment on the case Thursday.

The third person man had not been arrested or arraigned on the break-in charges as of Thursday evening.

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