Seattle man arrested during Y-12 protest crossed blue trespass line, police say

Christopher Ryan Spicer Arrest at Y-12

Christopher Ryan Spicer of Seattle was arrested and charged with criminal trespass at the main entrance to the Y-12 National Security Complex on Sunday. (Photo courtesy Ralph Hutchison)

The Seattle man who was arrested and charged with criminal trespassing at the Y-12 National Security Complex on Sunday had repeatedly failed to comply with police commands, and he crossed a blue trespass line at the main entrance to the nuclear weapons plant, authorities said.

Christopher Ryan Spicer, 31, was participating in a weekly protest at Y-12 at about 6 p.m. Sunday at the intersection of Bear Creek and Scarboro roads. This protest was significant because it occurred less than two days before the scheduled sentencing of the three protesters who broke into Y-12 in July 2012 and spray-painted slogans and splashed blood on a uranium storage building.

Dozens of people came to Knoxville from across the country for the Tuesday sentencing of the three: Greg Boertje-Obed, Megan Rice, and Michael Walli. However, it was postponed to Feb. 18 because of snow.

Christopher Ryan Spicer

Christopher Ryan Spicer

Oak Ridge Police Department Officer James Elkins said Spicer was among the protesters on Sunday evening before he crossed a street and walked toward the Y-12 guard shack. Spicer repeatedly failed to comply with orders given by him and ORPD Sgt. Roy Heinz, Elkins said in a warrant filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court. The officers told Spicer to stop as he approached the blue trespass line at the federal site, Elkins said. [Read more...]

Judge says Y-12 protesters not contrite as snow delays sentencing

Y-12 Plowshares Protesters

Pictured above are the three anti-nuclear weapons protesters who broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex on July 28, 2012, and vandalized a uranium storage building. From left, they are Michael Walli, Megan Rice, and Greg Boertje-Obed.

KNOXVILLE—The three protesters who cut through fences and vandalized a uranium storage building at the Y-12 National Security Complex in July 2012 have not shown contrition or accepted responsibility for what they’ve done, a federal judge said during a Tuesday sentencing hearing.

The three anti-nuclear weapons activists—Greg Boertje-Obed, Megan Rice, and Michael R. Walli—have acknowledged that they splashed human blood, hung crime scene tape, and hammered on the side of the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility on July 28, 2012. They have freely given interviews to reporters and admitted that they spray-painted slogans—they called them “Biblical graffiti”—on the side of the HEUMF, which stores most of the nation’s bomb-grade uranium.

But acknowledging their actions is not the same as contrition, U.S. District Judge Amul R. Thapar suggested during a Tuesday sentencing hearing at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Courthouse in Knoxville. To accept responsibility, the trio would have to show contrition and remorse, and acknowledge that what they did was wrong, Thapar said.

However, the defendants have fought the government at every step in the 18-month-old case, the judge said. [Read more...]

Judge says prosecution against Y-12 protesters not selective, vindictive

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed claims by three anti-nuclear weapons activists who broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex in July that a so-called sabotage charge filed against them in December was the result of vindictive and selective prosecution.

The defendants had asked the U.S. District Court in Knoxville to dismiss that charge, which carries a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years. They alleged government prosecutors sought the new charge because they had earlier refused to plead guilty to less serious charges. [Read more...]

Court will not limit time for jury examination in Y-12 protester case

A federal judge will not limit the time used to examine prospective jurors during jury selection on May 6 in the trial against three anti-nuclear weapons activists accused of breaking into the Y-12 National Security Complex last summer and vandalizing a uranium storage building.

As previously reported, attorneys for the defendants—Greg Boertje-Obed, Megan Rice, and Michael Walli—had asked for six hours for jury selection because of the publicity the unprecedented security breach has generated. [Read more...]

Former U.S. attorney general, civil rights participant can testify at Y-12 protester hearing

Y-12 Plowshares Protesters

Pictured above are the three anti-nuclear weapons protesters who broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex on July 28. From left, they are Michael Walli, Megan Rice, and Greg Boertje-Obed.

A federal judge will allow a former U.S. attorney general and civil rights sit-in participant to testify at a Tuesday motions hearing for the three anti-nuclear weapons activists who broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex in July.

The two witnesses are former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark and civil rights sit-in participant Robert Booker.

The three anti-nuclear weapons activists are accused of cutting through three fences in the high-security Protected Area at Y-12 on July 28 and splashing human blood and spray-painting messages on the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, where most of the nation’s bomb-grade uranium is stored. [Read more...]

Y-12 protesters face new national defense charge, longer prison sentence

Transform Now Plowshares

The three anti-nuclear weapons activists pictured above allegedly cut through fences and vandalized a uranium storage building at the Y-12 National Security Complex in July and now face federal charges of property destruction, property depredation, and injuring national defense premises. From left to right the three are Michael R. Walli, Megan Rice, and Greg Boertje-Obed. (Submitted photo)

A new federal charge has been added against the three protesters who allegedly cut through fences at the Y-12 National Security Complex in July and splashed human blood and spray-painted slogans on a uranium storage building.

A three-count indictment returned against Greg Boertje-Obed, Megan Rice, and Michael Walli adds a new count of injuring national-defense premises, U.S. Attorney William C. Killian said in a Wednesday morning press release. The new charge carries a longer prison sentence of up to 20 years.

The indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Knoxville on Tuesday supersedes the earlier three-count indictment from August.

The new indictment does not include the earlier trespassing charge. However, it does include the previous charges of property destruction and property depredation. Including all the charges, the protesters, who are opposed to Y-12’s nuclear weapons work, now face jail sentences of up to 35 years and fines of up to $750,000.

[Read more...]

Seeking delay, Y-12 protesters have Friday hearing in federal court

A Friday hearing has been scheduled for the three protesters accused of sneaking into the Y-12 National Security Complex on July 28 and spray-painting slogans and splashing human blood on the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, where bomb-grade uranium is stored.

The three protesters—Greg Boertje-Obed, Megan Rice, and Michael R. Walli—have asked Magistrate Judge C. Clifford Shirley to delay their Oct. 10 trial in U.S. District Court in Knoxville.

[Read more...]