One Branch Davidian was ordered held as a material witness after a hearing Wednesday, while another remained in McLennan County Jail awaiting word on her fate.
Oliver Gyarfas, 19, was ordered held without bond after a 45-minute hearing before U.S. Magistrate Dennis Green. His attorney later told reporters he expects charges to be filed against his client before the Mount Carmel matter is resolved.
Meanwhile, Kathryn Schroeder remained in McLennan County Jail late Wednesday after a promised ruling by Green on holding her as a material witness failed to materialize.
Gyarfas, dressed in an orange prison jumper and shackled about his left wrist and ankles, had no reaction when Green ordered him held. He later told photographers as he was being led back to prison, “I love David Koresh.”
Koresh, also known as Vernon Howell, is leader of the Branch Davidian cult.
During the hearing, Texas Ranger Robert Garza testified that Gyarfas told investigators in a March 8 conversation that he was “ready for any action you guys give out” and that he would have shot a federal agent he saw if the agent hadn’t been behind a cement obstruction. The tape was not played in court or for defense attorney Brian Pollard.
Pollard argued that Gyarfas made the remarks because he was bitter and saddened over the death of Pete Gent, a fellow Australian at the compound reported killed in the original raid. Davidians said it was Gent’s body they buried outside the compound earlier in the siege.
“He said that was taken out of context, that he was angry because his friend got killed and he was just venting his anger,” Pollard told reporters later. “To my knowledge, he never had a gun.”
Pollard said Gyarfas told him that he was asleep when the shooting started during the raid and that he went down to a “bunker,” an inner room cult members used in times of bad weather.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Johnston argued that Gyarfas would flee if allowed out of prison because of his lack of local ties. According to testimony in the hearing, Gyarfas is an Australian citizen who came over on a now-expired tourist visa to hear Koresh’s teaching.
Phil Reyna, a federal pre-trial investigator, told Green that Gyarfas likely faces Immigration and Naturalization Service proceedings to deport him if he is released from custody.
“The understanding I have is that they put a detain on him when he was booked into the McLennan County Jail,” Reyna said.
Gyarfas told the hearing that he was broke, that his sister Aisha Summers is pregnant and still within the compound and that his parents are unemployed.
Gyarfas also promised to appear at any hearings and to abide by any court orders issued in the case.
When cross-examined by Johnston, Gyarfas agreed that he was being treated fairly and that he had no disagreement with anything that had happened to him since he left the compound Friday. Those are points government negotiators have been hammering home to those still inside the compound — that if they come out they will be treated fairly.
Pollard asked Green for a less restrictive confinement for Gyarfas such as living in a halfway house while wearing an electronic monitoring device. But he said he was not surprised by Green’s ruling.
“I can see his point because he’s working under a lot of pressure. There’s a lot of bad things going on out there,” Pollard said.