Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tre Arrow sentenced to 78 months for arson

Tre Arrow sentenced to 78 months for arson
By William McCall

4:24 p.m. August 12, 2008

PORTLAND, Ore. – One of the last of more than a dozen environmental activists convicted of arson as a protest tactic across the West beginning in the late 1990s was been sentenced Tuesday to 78 months in federal prison.

Tre Arrow had pleaded guilty to setting fire to cement trucks at Ross Island Sand and Gravel Co. in April 2001 and to logging trucks at Schoppert Logging Co. in June 2001.

The 34-year-old activist who said he changed his name from Michael Scarpitti because the trees told him to do it will get credit for about four years served in a Canadian prison while he was battling extradition to the United States.

The prosecutor said everybody involved in the long investigation was happy that Arrow admitted guilt after denying it for years.

“To finally see it finished is satisfying for everybody,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Peifer during a brief news conference outside the federal courthouse.

“After years of denying it, now we know the truth,” Peifer said.

Arrow was indicted in August 2002 and became an international fugitive until his arrest for shoplifting in Victoria, British Columbia, in March

U.S. District Judge James Redden told Arrow that a condition of his probation after release will be to avoid contact with known members of the Earth Liberation Front or the Animal Liberation Front, “which advocate or participate in criminal activity.”

Peifer recommended the 78-month term based on sentencing by U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken in Eugene last year for 10 other activists who admitted responsibility for arson fires across the West that caused an estimated $40 million in damage from 1996 to 2001 – including a fire at the Vail ski resort in Colorado.

The Eugene activists were linked to the Earth Liberation Front, including some who also were members of the Animal Liberation Front.

Arrow told Redden that he was never a threat or danger to the public and did not believe additional prison time would change him.

“I don't feel dysfunctional in any fashion,” Arrow said. But he added: “I do stand here today, your honor, and accept responsibility for my actions.”

He said he felt that large corporations “have usurped much of governmental power” and that he would continue to pursue “peaceful activism.”

Redden responded that Arrow had admitted guilt for arson, which was not mentioned in about 50 letters of support the court received.

“The letters tell me you are a person of great intelligence,” Redden said, “but it was a very serious crime, and you know it.”

In addition to the group convicted in Eugene, other activists have been convicted of arson or related crimes in Washington state and California.

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