In Partial Sentencing, Court Hits Y-12 Protesters With $50K-Plus Restitution

Global Security Newswire Staff
Jan. 28, 2014, 9:57 a.m.

A fed­er­al court in Ten­ness­ee has dir­ec­ted three peace ad­voc­ates to pay a com­bined sum of $52,953 for in­filt­rat­ing a U.S. nuc­le­ar-arms site in 2012.

However, the judge in the case on Tues­day post­poned fi­nal sen­ten­cing as the Knoxville court­house was closed early due to a snow storm, the Knoxville News Sen­tinel re­ports.

The three-week pause came after the ini­tial sen­ten­cing for 83-year-old Cath­ol­ic nun Megan Rice, along with fel­low Trans­form Now Plow­shares par­ti­cipants Greg Bo­er­tje-Obed, 56, and Mi­chael Walli, 64.

The nearly $53,000 pen­alty would cov­er clean­ing and re­pairs for dir­ect phys­ic­al harm that the tres­pass­ers in­flic­ted on Ten­ness­ee’s Y-12 Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Com­plex in Ju­ly 2012, when the trio cut through a series of the site’s se­cur­ity fences, pel­ted a bomb-grade urani­um stor­age fa­cil­ity with hu­man blood and spray-painted an­ti­war mes­sages.

The cost of the U.S. se­cur­ity re­sponse to the break-in stood at roughly $15 mil­lion as of early last year, and was ex­pec­ted to po­ten­tially rise fur­ther, ac­cord­ing to pre­vi­ous re­port­ing.

All three Trans­form Now Plow­shares act­iv­ists still face pos­sible pris­on sen­tences for their May con­vic­tions of in­ter­fer­ing with na­tion­al se­cur­ity and dam­aging gov­ern­ment prop­erty. Rice could be im­prisoned un­til she is more than 90 years old if Judge Amul Thapar fol­lows fed­er­al sen­ten­cing guidelines, and her two ac­com­plices could face even longer pris­on terms.

In­clement weath­er forced early clos­ure of the fed­er­al dis­trict court host­ing the sen­ten­cing hear­ing, and tri­al par­ti­cipants de­term­ined they could not wrap up the pro­ceed­ings be­fore the Ten­ness­ee courtroom shut its doors in early af­ter­noon.

Thapar ordered the de­fend­ants to re­turn to jail un­til their sen­ten­cing re­sumes, the Wash­ing­ton Post re­por­ted. The hear­ing is sched­uled to con­tin­ue on Feb. 18, ac­cord­ing to the News Sen­tinel.

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