Judge denies Saxon's release

Man accused in military thefts not getting medical care, attorney says
Saxon

Seconds before he was to be shuffled out of the federal courtroom by two burly U.S. marshals, Anthony Todd Saxon turned to face his crying wife, Rhonda, seated behind him and mouthed, "It's OK."

It was a brief consolation from husband to wife right after a U.S. magistrate decided that Saxon posed enough of a threat to the community that he should not be let out on bond, not even for house arrest.

Saxon is charged with seven counts, ranging from impersonating a soldier to possession of explosives by a convicted felon stemming from the June 15 theft of an infrared aiming laser from Fort Gordon and the theft of a firearm from Blankenship Custom Firearms in Grovetown between November 2009 and January.

If he is found guilty on each count and given the maximum sentence, Saxon could spend more than 50 years in federal prison.

The parties in the case met Monday to discuss the results of a mental evaluation conducted over the past several months in which doctors at The Federal Medical Center at Fort Devins, Mass., found no reason why Saxon could not stand trial.

His hair now longer than the military-style buzz cut he wore at the time of his arrest in June, Saxon was more alert and loquacious than in his earlier appearances. He turned back several times to console his wife, Rhonda, and his father, who sat watching the hearing. He also discussed the case at length with his attorney, Danny Durham, and talked with the U.S. marshals keeping guard in the room.

In his plea for Saxon's release on bond, Durham described him as a very sick man who is not receiving the treatment -- physically and mentally -- that he needs at the detention center in Jefferson County where he is being held.

Saxon is prescribed oxycodone for pain stemming from a car crash in 2008, but when he returned to Jefferson County he was told that facility does not allow patients to take the drug and he has been receiving Motrin instead.

After a two-hour break to address the situation, U.S. Magistrate W. Leon Barfield said he was working with the authorities to find an appropriate location to house Saxon so that he could receive the medical treatment he needs.

As of late Monday afternoon, that information had not been filed with the court clerk's office.

Durham said Saxon's car wreck caused a spinal injury that -- aside from causing chronic pain -- can cause dangerous spikes in his blood pressure. Saxon told the court that an incorrect dosage of blood pressure medication given him by authorities caused two small strokes that have left him with partial blindness in his left eye and numbness on that side of his body.

He has also been prescribed antidepressant medication.

"There's one thing that I think nobody would disagree with on Anthony Todd Saxon, and that's that he is in tremendous pain," Durham said.

Speaking directly to Saxon's wife and father, Barfield said Saxon's incarceration would not go to waste because every day spent in custody is a day that he will be credited with if sentenced. He also assured them that Saxon would be taken care of physically and psychologically.

But he also said the details of the case were such that he could not release Saxon back into the community.

No one knows what Saxon intended to do when he was to be "deployed" to Iraq or Afghanistan on June 17 -- a lie that had fooled his entire family.

"I have, over that course of time, developed a sense of the strength and weaknesses of various types of cases," Barfield said. "I would say -- and most people would agree -- that the government's evidence in this case is strong."

Saxon has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

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On June 15, Fort Gordon military police officers spotted Anthony Todd Saxon driving a vehicle that a member of the community recognized from a theft in April. It was later determined that Saxon had been to the fort at least 10 other times before his arrest.

When officers stopped and searched his vehicle, they found a bag containing several grenades, a land mine, night-vision devices and an infrared aiming laser. Saxon was dressed in the uniform of an Army master sergeant in the 82nd Airborne Division. Earlier that day, Saxon had entered the post's military office and told the captain in charge that he needed the aiming laser for target practice.

Saxon, an unemployed father of three children, had lived at his brother's home in Burke County since December, according to court documents.

At one time, Saxon was in the Army National Guard but was discharged in 1995 because of heart problems. He worked at a private security firm but was laid off in 2008 and shortly thereafter was injured in a car wreck and began taking large doses of oxycodone, a potentially habit-forming narcotic painkiller.

In the weeks leading up to his arrest, Saxon had told his family he was preparing to be deployed to either Iraq or Afghanistan on June 17. His parents had even traveled to Burke County from Florida to bid him goodbye.

A search of his home uncovered a Kevlar helmet that was outfitted for night-vision equipment, nearly 1,400 rounds of 5.56 mm ammunition, 17 loaded magazines, a Spike's Tactical ST-15 rifle with a silencer, an anti-personnel mine, several hand grenades and about 12 boxes of the military's "meals ready to eat," or MREs.