Witness: Refuge less tense than town during armed standoff

A witness testifying for the defense in the trial of Ammon Bundy and six others says the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge was peaceful and laid-back during the standoff.

Pat Horlacher said the same couldn’t be said for Burns, the nearest city to the Oregon bird sanctuary. He said the massive police response looked like a scene from the 1984 movie “Red Dawn,” in which Soviet soldiers invade a small Colorado town.

He was among three witnesses Monday afternoon who provided a different view than the government of what took place during last winter’s standoff. Earlier Monday, Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward returned to the stand about three weeks after he appeared as a witness for the prosecution.

Ammon Bundy was expected to testify in the afternoon, but his appearance was pushed back.

The defendants are charged with conspiring to prevent federal employees from doing their jobs at the refuge.



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