Accountability for a Pacific Northwest eco-terrorist. Via the Seattle Times:
A 32-year-old violin teacher from California was found guilty this morning of two counts of arson for the 2001 fire at the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture.
A federal jury found that Briana Waters, a former Olympia resident, was among a group of ecosaboteurs who torched the center in the predawn hours of May 21, 2001, causing about $1.5 million in damage. The center was later rebuilt at a cost of about $7 million.
Waters faces up to five years in prison for each count of arson.
But the jury, which had been deliberating since Friday afternoon, couldn’t reach a verdict on three other counts, including the most serious that would have resulted in a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years in prison.
In all, Waters faced five counts: two counts of arson, one count of conspiracy and two charges stemming from the possession and use of a homemade time-delayed gasoline bomb used to start the fire. Use of the device in a crime of violence carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years in prison.
The Earth Liberation Front claimed responsibility for the fire because it believed, mistakenly, that a UW researcher was genetically engineering trees.
Waters’ fellow collaborators did her in:
Waters maintained her composure through the trial, which culminated in her taking the witness stand on her own behalf. Waters testified that she was never involved in planning or carrying out the UW arson and never supported arson as a militant tactic. She spoke of her fears of imprisonment and separation from her 3-year-old daughter.
The prosecutors had two key witnesses — Lacey Phillabaum and Jennifer Kolar — who had already pleaded guilty to being part of the five-person arson team that burned the UW building on May 21, 2001. Both testified that Waters acted as a lookout.
“There are days I thought I would rather kill myself than testify against Briana,” said Phillabaum in testimony that stretched out over two days. But she then affirmed. “Until the end of time … forever my recollection is that Briana Waters did it.”
Phillabaum testified that Waters had obtained a rental car that was used to take the sabotage team to Seattle from Olympia. And in what prosecutors cited as strong corroborating testimony, Waters’ cousin, Robert Corrina, testified that he and his wife had rented a car the weekend of the UW arson, and that Waters had then taken that car from them.
Other members of their domestic eco-terrorist conspiracy:
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Ten members of “The Family” sentenced last year.
Stanislas Gregory Meyerhoff – (5-23-07) – 13 years
Kevin Tubbs —————– (5-24-07) – 12 years, 7 months
Chelsea Dawn Gerlach ——- (5-25-07) – 9 years
Darren Todd Thurston———(5-29-07) – 3 years, 1 month
Suzanne Nicole Savoie——–(5-31-07) – 4 years, 3 months
Sarah Kendall Tankersley—–(5-31-07) – 3 years, 10 months
Joyanna Lynn Zacher———(6-01-07) – 7 years, 8 months
Nathan Fraser Block———-(6-01-07) – 7 years, 8 months
Daniel Gerard McGowan—–(6-04-07) – 7 years
Jonathan Paul—————–(8-01-07) – 4 years, 3 months
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