U.S. Attorney William C. “Bill” Killian commended the sentences given to the three Y-12 protesters on Tuesday, and he said he hoped it would send a strong message.
“The Y-12 National Security Complex plays a critical role in our country’s national defense,” Killian said in a Wednesday statement. “People cannot take the law into their own hands and unlawfully intrude upon sensitive government facilities. Those who violate the law and compromise the security of the Y-12 National Security Complex will be vigorously prosecuted.”
The three anti-nuclear weapons activists were convicted of sabotage in May 2013 for breaking into Y-12 on July 28, 2012, cutting through high-security fences, and splashing blood and spray-painting slogans on the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility. The fortress-like HEUMF stores most of the nation’s bomb-grade uranium.
The protesters—Michael Walli, Megan Rice, and Greg Boertje-Obed—were sentenced in U.S. District Court in Knoxville on Tuesday by District Judge Amul R. Thapar. Rice was sentenced to serve 35 months. Walli and Boertje-Obed were each sentenced to serve 62 months. All three will serve three years supervised release upon their release from prison. In addition, the trio was ordered to pay $52,953 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Boertje-Obed, Rice, and Walli were convicted in May 2013 of one count of injuring national defense premises (the Y-12 National Security Complex), with the intent to interfere with the national defense of the United States, and another count of depredation against property of the United States.
“On July 28, 2012, in the middle of the night, Walli, Rice, and Boertje-Obed unlawfully intruded upon the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge,” said Killian, who is U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Tennesseee. “They used bolt cutters and cut through three highly sensitive security fences and made their way to the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, which houses weapons-grade uranium. They splashed human blood and painted slogans on the exterior wall of the HEUMF.”
The agencies that participated in investigating the charges that led to the sentences included the U.S. Department of Energy—Office of Inspector General, and Federal Bureau of Investigation, Killian said. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey E. Theodore represented the United States.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office had declined to comment on the case until the prosecution was completed.