Criminal charges were filed Friday against a Branch Davidian held for three months as a material witness to the shootout at Mount Carmel.
Livingstone Fagan, 33, had been scheduled for a detention hearing.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Johnston told U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith Jr. that charges were being filed against Fagan, who walked out of the Mount Carmel compound on March 23.
Fagan was charged with conspiracy to murder federal officers and carrying a weapon in the commission of a violent crime.
Capt. David Byrnes of the Texas Rangers signed the criminal complaint.
“It’s the same conspiracy language they’re slapping on everyone,” said attorney Brad Cates of Waco, who represented Fagan until this week. “The bottom line, in my opinion, is that they were nervous that the detention order might not hold up much longer.”
Fagan has been held at the McLennan County Jail as a material witness to the raid since leaving Mount Carmel.
Byrnes, in the complaint, wrote that agent Gary Orchowski of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms told the Rangers in early March that a black man fired a weapon at him during the Feb. 28 raid on Mount Carmel.
In the resulting shootout, four ATF agents died trying to arrest cult leader Vernon Howell for possession of automatic weapons.
At least five Branch Davidians also were killed.
Orchowski on May 19 picked Fagan out of a photo lineup as the man who shot at him, according to Byrnes.
Cates questioned the timing of the complaint.
“How come it took so long to identify him?” Cates asked. “I’ll let everyone draw their own conclusions.”
Former cult members said Fagan was trained as a Seventh-day Adventist minister in Great Britain. After joining the Branch Davidians, who long ago spun away from the Seventh-day Adventists, Fagan recruited for the cult.
The conspiracy charge against Fagan carries a penalty of up to life in prison along with a maximum $250,000 fine. Carrying a weapon in the commission of a crime exposes a person to a prison sentence of up to 5 years and a maximum $250,000 fine.
Other Branch Davidians facing the same criminal charges as Fagan are Brad Branch, Kathryn Schroeder and Kevin Whitecliff.
Jaime Castillo and Clive Doyle are charged with conspiracy to murder federal officers.
Woodrow Kendrick and Norman Allison are charged with the attempted murder of a federal officer.
Paul Fatta is charged with conspiracy to manufacture and possess unregistered machine guns.