AG: Leader of “The Base” sentenced on multiple felony charges

Justen Watkins, 25, of Bad Axe, is the self-proclaimed leader of The Base, a white supremacist...
Justen Watkins, 25, of Bad Axe, is the self-proclaimed leader of The Base, a white supremacist group.(Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office)
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 3:37 PM EDT
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TUSCOLA CO., Mich. (WNEM) - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Tuesday Justen Watkins, “The Base” leader, was sentenced for multiple felony counts.

In October 2020, Justen Watkins, 25, from Bad Axe, and Alfred Gorman, Taylor, were charged in connection to a December 2019 incident in which a family in Dexter was terrorized at their home after the men intimidated them and posted messages to other members of The Base targeting the home.

Watkins claims to be the leader of The Base. The white supremacy gang openly advocates for violence and criminal acts against the U.S., claims to be training for a race war to establish white ethnonationalist rule in area of the country, including Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the attorney general’s office stated. The group also traffics in Nazi and ideology and extreme anti-Semitism.

Watkins was sentenced in a Tuscola County Court on May 24.

He was sentenced to 32 months to four years for conspiring to train a civil disorder and a mandatory two years for a felony firearm charge, according to the AG’s office.

The office said the conspiracy to train for a civil disorder charge was the first time in Michigan history a defendant has faced that felony.

“The tragic event in Buffalo that resulted in 10 people being murdered and another three injured is an example of why we must prosecute and pursue these types of crimes to deter others from contemplating such acts of violence,” said Nessel.  “Securing these convictions on the conspiracy to train for civil disorder creates a historic precedent in our state’s court system and conveys the real danger domestic terrorism poses here and around the country. Today’s sentencing is recognition by the court of the serious nature of these crimes and demonstrates the willingness of our justice system to hold accountable those who commit crimes in the name of overthrowing our government or perpetuating racist ideologies. I appreciate the work of our law enforcement partners at all levels to help bring these criminals to justice.”