Was Someone Plotting To Kill Governor Locke?

Was Someone Plotting To Kill Governor Locke? »Play Video
OLYMPIA - Federal agents uncovered a plot to assassinate Governor Locke.

James Brailey, 43, was arrested on firearms violations Thursday. When he returned home to Olympia after a trip to Arkansas, federal agents were waiting for him.

As you might expect, neighbors were surprised by the arrest and shocked by the plot to off the governor.

"I'm not a big fan of the governor, but I wouldn't approve of anyone killing him, it's just ridiculous," said Kirby Denger.

A ridiculous idea, but a very real and dangerous threat. An informant told federal investigators that in 1998, James Brailey not only threatened to kill the Governor, but even did a dry run.

A federal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office says, "Brailey got in the Capitol and saw the governor at a distance... while making a dry run in preparation for his assassination of Governor Locke."

That informant also told investigators on that day Brailey was heavily armed; he had a rifle under his coat, a .45 caliber gun in his waistband, a revolver strapped to his ankle and two claymore mines at the ready.

Two police informants said Brailey was stockpiling weapons. They went to the authorities in March and that's when federal agents started watching a house and trailer on the northern border of Olympia.

"I've only seen him twice, (he was) strange looking -- never talked to him," Denger said. "He just nodded, he was real secretive type, a secluded kind of guy."

Neighbors say Brailey lived in a tiny trailer that was parked in the backyard of a friend's house. Denger says the property owners are snowbirds who are gone for the winter. On Thursday federal agents made their move, arresting Brailey without incident.

Chad Stom was just across the street, "They were pulling lots of boxes out of the house, there were all kinds of agents, they just kept taking boxes out of the house."

Stom says before the agents arrived, there were a lot of late night activity at the house - cars and packages always coming and going. Colleen Dorian says it would get busy around one in the morning. "I had a very nervous feeling -- first with the boxes and the cars waking me up."

Her intuition proved right.

Court papers state that: "Brailey hates Governor Locke because he believes that he (Brailey) is the only true Governor of this state. Brailey hates Governor Locke because of his ethnicity."

Brailey is a member of an extreme right wing group called the Jural Society, which doesn't believe in the state or federal government.

He claims at one point, the Jural Society voted him the Governor of Washington. Police believe that Brailey had a falling out with the Jural Society. And although he is still consider a member, he lost his so-called governorship.

The governor's Communications Director says Locke won't comment on Brailey's arrest. Locke kept his normal schedule Friday, which included working on the Capitol campus in his office.