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A motion calling for the release of Provo's Dylan Wade Anderson from an Oregon jail provides a fuller picture of the wildlife refuge occupier known primarily for identifying to media as "Captain Moroni."
Details about Anderson have been scarce since his arrest at an FBI checkpoint Jan. 27, but attorneys for the 35-year-old argue that he wasn't a "key player" in the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, as he was determined to be by Magistrate Judge Stacey Beckerman on the basis that "he was there at the beginning and he was there at the end."
Defense attorneys say Anderson charged with felonies for conspiring to impede federal officers and possession of firearms and dangerous weapons in federal facilities was at the refuge for just 10 days between Jan. 2 and Jan. 27 and returned to Provo on Jan. 7 for a 13-day stint.
"[T]he government has presented no evidence that Mr. Anderson had any type of leadership role in the occupation or, that he had any role beyond being present at the beginning for that matter," the motion reads.
Anderson's mother, Jean Clay, told The Tribune by phone Friday that Anderson's first involvement in a demonstration against federal management of public lands came in spring 2014, when he joined Cliven Bundy's standoff with federal officers in Bunkerville, Nev.
Anderson is a man of few words, Clay said, and he didn't explain his interest.
"He just kind of got involved with helping them," she said.
He later would read a book about Bundy written by a fellow Malheur indictee, Kanab's Shawna Cox, and a novel written by Robert LaVoy Finicum, an Arizona Strip rancher who was killed the day before Anderson's arrest and whose services were held in Kanab.
Anderson and his wife of three years, Cynthia, then were photographed at a May 2014 protest ATV ride in San Juan County's Recapture Canyon.
Still, even after his widely publicized arrest in eastern Oregon, he was unknown to an ATV ride's organizer until late last month, when San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman posted the couple's photo to Facebook with his suspicion that Anderson and his wife "were agents provocateur working for the BLM or one of the environmentalist groups."
(His post was deleted after this story's publication.)
Clay said Anderson went to Oregon to protest the return to prison of Dwight and Steven Hammond and "got caught up in" a rally at a Burns, Ore., parking lot.
Clay had reservations about an extended stay.
"It didn't sound like a good idea, and it turned out it wasn't," she said. "I guess he just felt sympathetic to their cause. I agree they had a pretty good cause, but they just went about it the wrong way."
Anderson gained a measure of notoriety Jan. 3 when he identified himself to an Oregon Public Broadcasting reporter as "Captain Moroni," a Nephite military leader whose virtues are extolled in the Book of Mormon.
"I didn't come here to shoot, I came here to die," he told the reporter while wearing a floppy hat, winter camouflage ski coat and snow pants.
He has been held at the Multnomah County Detention Center since his arrest.
His attorneys argue that in nearly 5,000 pages of discovery so far produced by the federal government, there is no mention of Anderson beyond the details of his arrest and a firearm on the refuge found registered to him.
The government's original complaint referenced a video showing Anderson at the main entrance to the refuge holding what appears to be a long gun at the side of Finicum.
Anderson was born and raised in Provo, most recently living with his wife in a basement they rent from Clay.
He operated heavy equipment at a recycling company from 2012 to 2015, leaving the job because he developed tinnitus, his attorneys' motion states. He then delivered flowers before joining the occupiers at Malheur. He was fired during his stay.
Anderson's wife briefly took on a second job to compensate for lost income, Clay said, but "it was just too much." She currently works full time at a fast-food restaurant.
Anderson's own Facebook page previously identified one of his "Likes" as the Three Percenters Club Utah, though the militia group's page was unavailable Friday and Clay said her son is not affiliated with any militia.
He is an avid hiker, she said, who enjoys taking his part-Labrador, part-red heeler into the mountains on weekslong jaunts.
He was arrested in 1999 in Utah County for possession of marijuana and paraphernalia and convicted that year in Springville Justice Court of possession of alcohol by a minor.
Clay, who lost her husband to diabetes and heart problems six years ago, said the prospect of losing her son to prison is distressing.
"Of course I wish he'd never gone, but he did," she said. "There's not much we can do."
He enjoys "extensive family support," Anderson's attorneys write, in Provo, and has an older sister in Beaverton, Ore., with whom he might stay during a September trial.
His attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.