PLAINFIELD, N.H. – A New Hampshire woman sentenced to 35 years in prison for amassing an arsenal of weapons at her fortress-like home and holding U.S. marshals at bay for months after she was convicted for tax evasion has apologized to her hometown.
Elaine Brown, 73, and her husband, Ed, had insisted the federal income tax is unconstitutional. They were convicted again in 2009 of plotting to kill federal agents during a standoff at their Plainfield home.
A letter to the editor from Elaine Brown, dated April 20, appears in the June edition of PlainFacts, a monthly publication written by Plainfield residents.
She wrote that she and her husband were trying to advance the "cause of justice," but "failed to realize the fear, anxiety and impact we were causing" to residents, Plainfield police and town administrators.
"Now, seven years later, I realize the wrong I have done to you all," she wrote. "One cannot do the wrong thing for the right reason; that is not God's way, nor the way of our constitutional republic.
"I apologize to you all, and ask for your forgiveness, as I have asked for God's."
The Browns were in a nine-month standoff with authorities after they were sentenced to five years in prison for tax evasion.
While the Browns kept federal marshals at bay, they welcomed a parade of anti-tax and anti-government supporters including Randy Weaver, whose wife and son were killed along with a deputy U.S. marshal in a 1992 shootout on Weaver's property in Ruby Ridge, Idaho. U.S. marshals posing as supporters eventually arrested the Browns peacefully.
Elaine Brown is serving her sentence at a federal women's prison in Aliceville, Alabama, and is scheduled for release in 2042. Ed Brown is serving a 37-year sentence.
One of the editors of PlainFacts, Nancy Norwalk, said the handwritten return address on the envelope has Brown's name and Aliceville.
"We have no reason to doubt that it came from her," she said.
Federal officials are preparing to sell the Browns' home but said they can't guarantee that explosives and other booby traps aren't hidden on the 103-acre spread.
Elaine Brown was a dentist. Her dental office in West Lebanon also is being auctioned.