The FBI Files

Season 5 Episode 12

Domestic Terror

Aired Weekdays 3:00 PM Jul 01, 2003 on Discovery Channel



  • Trivia

    • Phineas priests believe they are justified in murdering people who, they say, "disobey God's laws" by performing abortions, marrying someone of another race, or being a homosexual. They rely on the biblical story of Phineas, recounted in Numbers 25, to add God's blessing to their heinous beliefs and violent actions.

    • The term "Phineas Priesthood" comes from the Old Testament of the Bible. The Book of Numbers, Chapter 25, describes how an Israelite man "enters into an unlawful union with a woman from another tribe (the Midianites) and brings down the wrath of Yahweh (God)"upon the Israelites. One outraged tribesman by the name of Phineas kills the race-mixing couple and thus appeases God. The action, according the UDI's Scott Mann forged a "covenant of everlasting Priesthood" between God and Phineas. This Biblical account provides the justification asserted by Phineas Priests for directing retribution against those who are perceived to by the enemies of god.

  • Quotes

  • Notes

    • Case fact: Verne Jay Merrell, Charles Barbee, and Robert Berry were convicted of lesser charges related to the incidents, but the jury was unable to reach consensus on more serious bank robbery and pipe bombing charges that carry mandatory life sentences. Reportedly, one of the 12 jurors held out, preventing the convictions of the men. They would be retried.

  • Allusions

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