Note: This story was last updated at 10:20 a.m. Feb. 19.
KNOXVILLE—The three protesters who broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex in July 2012 and splashed human blood and spray-painted slogans on a uranium storage building were sentenced to three to five years in prison on Tuesday.
Megan Rice, an 84-year old Catholic nun who last lived in Washington, D.C., received the shortest sentence. She was sentenced to 35 months, or just under three years. Rice is the oldest of the three anti-nuclear weapons activists. She also has the least extensive criminal history, Judge Amul R. Thapar said during a 4.5-hour sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court in Knoxville on Tuesday afternoon.
The other two protesters, Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli, both were sentenced to 62 months, or a little more than five years. They have more extensive prior records. Boertje-Obed is a 58-year-old house painter from Duluth, Minn., and Walli is a 64-year-old Catholic worker and Vietnam veteran from Washington, D.C. Thapar said Boertje-Obed has 40 arrests and more than 20 convictions, and he has previously served time in prison. So has Walli. He was released on Jan. 5, 2012—about six months before the break-in—after an eight-month federal sentence for an earlier trespassing incident at Y-12.
“What do I do when eight months didn’t deter him?” Thapar asked defense attorney Chris Irwin. “It’s getting worse, not better.” [Read more...]