The first defendant in the 2014 Bundy Ranch standoff, Gerald “Jerry” DeLemus, has been sentenced to seven years in prison. DeLemus has already served 16 months behind bars and will remain incarcerated for approximately six more years. He is currently 62 years of age.
Last August, DeLemus pleaded guilty to conspiracy for his role in the standoff.
The dispute over the Bundy Ranch mobilized individuals who believed federal lands in the Western U.S. should be ceded to local control.
DeLemus arrived at the Bundy ranch hours after a standoff that ended with the release of Clive Bundy’s cattle and remained there for over a month organizing a militia and acting as an intermediary between the militia and local law enforcement.
Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro called DeLemus a “bully vigilante” and added time to DeLemus’ sentence because he attempted to withdraw his guilty pleas. Navarro noted that DeLemus never advised Bundy to follow the law and stated that DeLemus should have advised the rancher to pay decades of overdue grazing fees or to allow agents to remove his cattle from federal land.
DeLemus stated that he traveled to the ranch in Bunkerville, located approximately 80 miles from Las Vegas, heavily armed because he was concerned for the safety of the Bundy family and that it was never about the cattle. DeLemus had heard that the U.S. government had armed snipers surrounding the property.
He cited his devout Christian beliefs, including a passage from the Bible that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friend. DeLemus stated that he was willing to die to protect the Bundy family. Although DeLemus did not lose his life in the standoff, he stated that he is now sacrificing himself by serving his prison sentence as a result of his actions.
DeLemus is a former Marine who once ran for sheriff and mayor in his home state of New Hampshire and served as a Republican delegate in that state.
DeLemus’s wife, Susan, a former New Hampshire Republican lawmaker, sat with supporters of the Bundy family, who waved at and thanked DeLemus, at the sentencing.