Federal grand jury indicts anti-nuke activists

A federal grand jury has indicted the seven anti-nuke activists who call themselves the Kings Bay Plowshares. The activists accessed Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base without authorization in April and allegedly vandalized areas with spray paint.

All seven were arrested April 5 and charged locally with interference with government property, possession of tools for the commission of a crime, which are both felonies, and criminal trespass, which is a misdemeanor. They are being held without bond.

The federal indictment adds conspiracy, destruction of property on a naval installation, depredation of government property and trespassing. Participating in the action were Elizabeth McAlister, 78, of Baltimore, Md.; Stephen Michael Kelly, 69, of Los Gatos, Calif.; Carmen Trotta, 55, of New York City; Clare Therese Grady, 59, of Ithaca, N.Y.; Martha Hennessy, 62, of Perkinsville, Vt.; Mark Peter Corville, 55, of New Haven, Conn.; and Patrick M. O’Neill, 61, of Garner, N.C.

The indictment alleges that the activists conspired to access the base, knowing that they needed and didn’t have authorization, to “willfully and maliciously” destroy and damage federal property that exceeded $1,000. They allegedly cut a padlock on a perimeter gate, then cut a hole in a chain link fence within the base to access a restricted area, spray painted buildings and displays, removed lettering from signs and hammered on a display.

The maximum penalties for the conspiracy and destruction charges are five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release and a $100 special assessment. The maximum penalty for depredation of government property is 10 years in prison. The trespass charge, a class B misdemeanor, is six months in prison.

In a May 4 press release, the plowshares said they expect the seven activists to be acquitted of all charges.

“These peace activists acted in accordance with the 1996 declaration of the International Court of Justice that any threat or use of nuclear weapons is illegal,” attorney William Quigley, a professor of law at Loyola University, said in the release.

Tribune & Georgian

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