Sand Land's minuteman weirdness got weirder today, with Stacey O'Connell, an ex-Minuteman Civil Defense Corps member, issuing a "Wanted" poster for his former leader Chris Simcox seeking info on his whereabouts and offering a cash reward for same.
As I reported last week, Simcox's wife Alena sought and received an order of protection against her husband back on April 16. Alena alleged that the former U.S. Senate candidate and ex-head of the now defunct MCDC had threatened to shoot her, their kids, and any cops that responded to her call for help.
The court ordered Simcox -- an advisor to the J.D. Hayworth campaign up until mid-April -- to stay away from his estranged wife and their two kids (plus one more of Alena's by a different relationship). He was also supposed to turn in his guns to the Scottsdale PD, but has yet to do so.
As Simcox had not answered the court as of May 12 and the court was unaware of his residence, it granted temporary sole legal custody of the kids to Alena. Simcox's lawyer John Acer filed a response on May 17, wherein Chris Simcox denied his wife's allegations of domestic violence.
So here comes O'Connell, stating that he's working for Alena in a press release, and asking for the public's help in locating Chris Simcox so the cops can formally serve him with the order of protection.
O'Connell and Simcox parted ways back in 2007 over allegations of financial impropriety on Simcox's part, and since then, O'Connell's been a stalwart Simcox hater. In an e-mail quoted by the Southern Poverty Law Center, O'Connell accused Simcox of "cheating volunteers." He's also called for a criminal investigation of MCDC's fund raising practices.
O'Connell has a bail recovery operation called Fugitive Recovery Services, the name for which is featured prominently on the "Wanted" poster. In the press release that accompanied the poster, it states quite dramatically that, "Chris Simcox may still be in possession of a firearm, and should be considered Armed & Dangerous."
Still, the poster itself states that there are no warrants outstanding against Simcox, and it even suggests that he may be staying with erstwhile MCDC exec Carmen Mercer in Tombstone, Arizona. So if you think you know where he is, why do you need to issue a "Wanted" poster?
I called O'Connell and he admitted that his company does not do process serving. He said that someone had attempted to serve Simcox through John Acer's office but was unsuccessful.
"We're not there to serve it," he said of the protective order. "We're there to let law enforcement know where he's at. Our sole responsibility in this is to find out Mr. Simcox's location so that he can be properly served."
But O'Connell has his own problems with an injunction against harassment issued at the request of Phoenix resident David Heppler, apparently a former business associate. Heppler alleged that O'Connell harassed him with threatening e-mails and text messages.
O'Connell declined to comment on the matter, as did Heppler. But in March of this year, a Maricopa County Superior Court commissioner affirmed the injunction against O'Connell, finding, "by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant has committed acts of harassment."
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I asked O'Connell if he found any irony in the fact that he had issued this "Wanted" poster regarding an order of protection when he had an injunction against him for harassing Heppler.
He said no.
Talk about irony-deficient...
For the record, Alena Simcox's lawyer did not return calls for comment, and Chris Simcox's lawyer was unavailable to make a statement. Not that I can blame either one of them, mind you.