Trial date set in October for Y-12 protestors

Trial date set in October for Y-12 protestors

Michael Walli Michael Walli
Sister Megan Rice Sister Megan Rice
Gregory Boertje-Obed (source: Blount County Sheriff's Office) Gregory Boertje-Obed (source: Blount County Sheriff's Office)

6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A new trial date is set for a trio of protestors involved in a trespassing and vandalism incident at the Y-12 National Security Complex.

Michael Walli, 63, Sister Megan Rice and Gregory Boertje-Obed, 57, were in federal court in Knoxville Thursday to face their charges from the incident on July 28.

The federal grand jury indictment of the three was unsealed Thursday. They pleaded not guilty to three counts.

"We need to expose the truth of the criminality of nuclear weapons, and everybody knows it. We're not acting," Rice said.

The first count is aiding and abetting each other to attempt to destroy or injure a structure on Y-12 property. The sentence could carry up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

The second count is a felony that is new to the case. It is aiding and abetting each other by cutting fences, painting and defacing Y-12 property. They're accused of painting "Woe to the empire of blood," "The fruit of justice is peace" and "Plowshares pleases Isaiah" on the wall of a building, along with throwing blood on it.

The second count sentence could carry a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The third count is unlawful entry at the Y-12 facility. The sentence carries a maximum of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

The court affidavit says the protestors left behind a number of items including bolt cutters, binoculars, trash, candles, flowers, a Plowshares banner, a Bible and bread.

The trio also left a letter they all signed that said, "We come to the Y-12 facility because our very humanity rejects the designs of nuclearism, empire and war. Our faith in love and nonviolence encourages us to believe that we come to invite transformation, undo the past and present work of Y-12; disarm and end any further efforts to increase the Y-12 capacity for an economy and social structure based upon war-making and empire building."

"I was at total peace," Rice said. "There's no fear. They (the security guards) were gentle from beginning to end."

The protestors are scheduled to stand trial on October 10 before U.S. District Judge Thomas Phillips.

Since Boertje-Obed waived his right to a detention hearing, he will remain in custody at the Blount County Jail.

Walli and Rice will go to Washington, D.C. Saturday to stay at the Dorothy Day Catholic Center.  They are ordered to restricted travel.

Each of the three has been involved in previous protest actions.

Walli was arrested two years ago for trespassing at Y-12 and served several months in prison on those federal charges.

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