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WBIR reports: "All three defendants were found guilty of both counts against them: vandalism and sabotage. They could face a 20 year prison sentence."

Michael Walli, Sister Megan Rice, and Greg Boerje-Obed, face 20 years in prison for anti-nuclear protest. (photo: Transform Now Plowshares)
Michael Walli, Sister Megan Rice, and Greg Boerje-Obed, face 20 years in prison for anti-nuclear protest. (photo: Transform Now Plowshares)

Oak Ridge Three Found Guilty of Vandalism and Sabotage

By WBIR, Knoxville

08 May 13



ust after 6 pm, we learned that the jury had reached a verdict.

All three defendants were found guilty of both counts against them: vandalism and sabotage. They could face a 20 year prison sentence.

All three will spend the night in the Blount County Detention Center. The judge asked the prosecutor if he wanted to allow them to bond out tonight, but the prosecutor said no. He reasoned that the three were found guilty of sabotage, which is a violent offense, so they should not be allowed to go free from court. A bond hearing is set for Thursday morning.

Previous Story

The jury is now deliberating in the federal trial of three protestors charged with breaking into and vandalizing the Y-12 complex last year.

They are considering two charges. The first is a vandalism charge, which neither side talked much about. They were more concerned with the more serious sabotage charge, which could carry a 20 year prison sentence.

In order to be found guilty of sabotage, the jury must believe that the three protestors went on to Y-12 property with the intent to interfere with nuclear security. That's exactly what the prosecution contends. They also say the act damaged the credibility of Y-12 worldwide.

The defense says the act was symbolic, to raise global awareness about their hope for nuclear disarmament. They say it was a miracle that they made it as far as they did, that they never expected to get past the gate. They said if they'd really wanted to disrupt nuclear security, they would have been armed.

Previous Story

Closing arguments are expected to begin after lunch on Wednesday, in the federal trial of three protestors charged with breaking into and vandalizing the Y-12 complex last year.

The prosecution rested late Tuesday, so Wednesday morning, the defense began presenting their case.

All three of the suspects, Michael Walli, Greg Boerje-Obed, and Sister Megan Rice testified in their own defense. All three spoke about the intentions of the break-in. They called it a "symbolic act", not a security threat. They said they wanted to "transform Y-12" and bring peace and healing to an operation they regard as being against the will of God.

The prosecution disputes that, saying the three disrupted operations at Y-12, even temporarily halting the mission of a secret convoy transporting nuclear materials to the complex that day.

The defense also called at expert witness, retired Army colonel Ann Wright. She testified that she had reviewed the inspector general's report of what happened, and in her opinion, did not believe the protestors were an actual security threat. She said in fact, the three did the country a favor be exposing severe security lapses at Y-12.

After lunch, closing arguments are expected to begin, then the judge will give the jury their instructions before they can begin their deliberations.

Because this is a federal trial, cameras are not allowed in the courtroom, but we will bring you the very latest on 10News at 5 and on

Previous Story

The defense is expected to continue presenting its case Wednesday in the trial of three peace protesters accused of breaking into the Y-12 Complex last July.

Authorities charged Michael Walli, Greg Boerje-Obed, and Sister Megan Rice with sabotage and damage of property.

Prosecutors rested their cased Tuesday after several men who worked as security officers at the time of the break-in testified.

The defense called Rice as its first witness Tuesday.

She told the court the trio did not create a plan as to what it would do once it encountered security personel in Y-12.

She later told reporters she was encouraged by the day's proceedings. your social media marketing partner


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+93 # tbcrawford 2013-05-08 18:51
Is this America? OMG we are forbidden honest protest...time to move...if only there were a place to go.
+26 # cwbystache 2013-05-08 20:15
oh yes, it is America--only more so. The only place left to go is the Land of Tax Resistance.
-7 # JohnBoanerges 2013-05-09 11:41
Dear cwbystache, Oh, how seldom do I encounter like minds. Government is a myth and freedom is achieved by just stop believing in it (and supporting it or even TAKING from it EVEN when you feel 'entitled' to take from it. It's called enabling). I'm sure that I'm preaching to the choir. I'm at johnboanerges.b
+2 # Joe Bob 2013-05-09 00:46
Aye, there'e the rub...
+1 # LizR 2013-05-12 16:15
Quoting tbcrawford:
Is this America? OMG we are forbidden honest protest...time to move...if only there were a place to go.

There is, it's called the other 98% of the world (that's only counting land area, by the way). You may have to learn to spell and format dates sensibly, but it's well worth it.
+84 # barkingcarpet 2013-05-08 19:07
Our government IS corrupt. It is the right (and duty) of "The People" to alter or abolish our government, and replace it with one which protects the rights of Nature, people, and the commons, above the rights of legitimate rapist bankers, and corporate thugs and propheteers.
It IS time to create a world both worth living in, and to ensure that it will even support our lives, before we allow any further destruction and toxification.
I AM ASHAMED to be an American, and proud of it. Shame on us for allowing this nonsense.
These people ARE hero's, and our country has it's priorities up it's rear.
+16 # BlackEcho 2013-05-09 01:23
#Barkingcarpet 5/8/13 @ 17:07: "Our government IS corrupt. It is the right (and duty) of "The People" to alter or abolish our government, and replace it..."

YES, YES and AMEN #Barkingcarpet! BOTH Jefferson AND Lincoln told us all that if special interests take control of our government, it is OUR DUTY (not simply "our right"). It is OUR DUTY to abolish and replace that government. And I think we are in such a situation. Most specifally, the fossil fuel industry has taken control. And, I am told, insurance interests who own most of the coal, oil,gas, and nukes....
NOW...HOW do we perform this duty? How do we pry their cold deadly hands off the steering wheel...and massive amounts of soldiers and police they hold undue influence over? (Prove and convince military and cops just who the real threat to society is? Sounds like a good first step, maybe.
And WHAT do we replace this disfunctioning mess of a government with? Maybe true democracy. No "representative s." Just allow information on issues to be submitted to websites dedicated to such matters, and people interested in those issues to vote and make decisions together.
And maybe get rid of money while we're at it. Just work together freely...and share stuff. Free
Just floating ideas...before climate change KILLS US ALL (just for EXXON to profit)
+18 # WestWinds 2013-05-09 10:23
We can start by banning corporate personhood in the Constitution. We need an amendment.

Then, we can reform campaign financing and put in a public TV channel that is the government channel which will run fair debates, allow Third Party voices, and showcase candidates who wish to run for office (with their true resumes and what they truly stand for.)

Both of these measures will get the money out of the political process. Then we need to re-instate Glass-Steagall to correct the behavior of the banks.

I would also suggest getting oil OFF the commodities market. As long as oil is a commodity, it will reign supreme and these corporations will chase it in the form of fracking, digging up the oceans and running these dangerous pipelines across Indian Treaty Lands (another bunch of corruption that needs to end.)
+4 # Johnny 2013-05-09 12:56
You are right about the money. But why do you think the feds would obey another amendment to the constitution? They already have shredded the first 10.
+55 # PABLO DIABLO 2013-05-08 19:08
"even temporarily halting the mission of a secret convoy transporting nuclear materials to the complex that day."
How could they be guilty of this if they didn't know about it. More of Obama's persecution of any one who dares the authority. They are heroes in my book, showing the billions we waste on "security" when we can't fund so many constructive areas of our used to be "great country". They should prosecute the security system that failed.
+7 # WestWinds 2013-05-09 10:26
I agree. This is another Obama witch hunt just like Sgt. Manning and Julian Assange. Taken on whole, it's a pretty ugly picture of Totalitarian Tyranny Terrorism (T3).
+72 # tedrey 2013-05-08 19:28
The little boy who points out that the Emperor has no clothes is thrown in jail; the Emperor continues to strut proudly along the street, butt-ass naked.
+45 # wantrealdemocracy 2013-05-08 19:33
This is America. Homeland Security is in charge. They are our Gestapo. We live in a police state. How did you like the military occupation of Boston? "They" (who ever is running this sorry nation---it ain't us, the people for sure) want us to get used to tanks in the streets and being put under house arrest. It is just an ordinary day in the land of the free. And you keep voting for those paid servants of the rich in Congress? When are you going to be able to face the fact that the Ds and the Rs are one and the same. To vote for either one is to vote for evil. Want some real change? Change your vote to people with a sense of morals and ethics. Such people ARE NOT members of the two corporately funded political parties.
+13 # Kathymoi 2013-05-08 23:04
I have suggested that a group run for president. I would like a group that includes Naom Chomsky, Bill Moyers, Bill McGibben (excuse me if I spelled his name incorrectly, the environmentalis t), Chris Hedges, and others who would be competent and responsible in each of the areas for which we have cabinet members and heads of staff at this time. I would like to vote for this group for president and to have a line of succession for each member of the group, knowing that line of succession before the election. I wrote about this idea to Naom Chomsky and he said it was a good idea and he would be willing to be a part of such a group if someone organized it. We need to replace our government, completely and thoroughly, and they've got the case rigged so we can't even protest what they're doing.
+50 # Thomas Martin 2013-05-08 19:54
Y12 has produced enough enriched uranium to make bombs enough to blow our world to smithereens - and we've built the bombs and put them on missiles that can deliver them - that bothers some of us, among whom a brave trio staged a peaceful protest that certainly demonstrated that Y12 security personnel are totally incompetent, but more significantly showed that jurors in the trial are equally incompetent, not being able to distinguish between peaceful protest against risking the end of the world, and welcoming it.
+21 # tedrey 2013-05-08 21:07
From personal experience I know that the judge's instructions to the jury are very important. S/he can tell them "If there were no evil intentions or consequences, you may find the defendants innocent," or. on the other hand, "If you find the defendants impeded lawful government activities, you should find them guilty." A prudent judge will know which way the government wishes those instructions to go.
+11 # WestWinds 2013-05-09 10:32
Having worked in our legal system, I would say that the jury had been carefully selected to give the outcome it got.
0 # RobertMStahl 2013-05-09 11:23
+33 # fliteshare 2013-05-08 20:06
They intended to embarrass the nuclear defense industry. Thus causing irreparable harm to the ego's of some members of our administration. Expect a maximum sentence.
+46 # Vegan_Girl 2013-05-08 20:27
I always feel confused about the USA. It is a country that was established based upon wonderful ideas: freedom of speech, equality in front of the law, and all that, beautifully spelled out in the Bill of Rights. At the same time, we have a horrible, dangerous system in place that is the polar opposite of the ideas spelled out in the Bill of Rights. We are rapidly losing even the illusion of these basic rights. Every day moves us further into a scary Orwellian place, and the rest of the world is waiting for us to rise up against the empire. And we have to do it because our survival might depend on it. We will need all the humanity and courage we can get. Home of the brave - let's hope so. Land of the free - far from it.

I admire and thank these brave people who risked their freedom to raise awareness of nuclear proliferation. I am disappointed in the jury - sabotage was never the intent of these people. I hope for a merciful judgement which is rare nowadays if the defendants are not rich.
+8 # WestWinds 2013-05-09 10:41
It's not the system, it's who is running it. The founding fathers never intended for big box corporations to own (monopolies)and run everything; this defeats a representative system.

We need to get the bad guys out but as long as Americans (South Carolinians) keep putting crooks back into office (Mark Sanford; as witnessed two days ago,) nothing will change.

We the People are STILL too stupid about what has been and is going on. By the time this country figures it out and wakes up, which I think the Social Security cuts might do, it's going to take a massive revolution across this whole country, if not the whole world.

In the mean time, (according to my Tea Party friend) they are chalking all of this off to the End Times and refusing to just see it for the corruption it is. I had to laugh when she told me her brother wanted a job with good benefits, a retirement plan and a health care package! God, are we EVER screwed up!!!
+26 # tomtom 2013-05-08 20:38
If we don't do it now, it will be moré difficult, later!
+31 # Urbancurmudgeon 2013-05-08 20:40
Where did they find 12 people who don't know the meaning of sabotage? It was a peaceful demonstration. Sabotage will be when someone who actually has evil intent gets into that amateurishly guarded facility and blows it into next November because the men who have already been made to look like fools won't learn from this lesson and the security will still stink.
+30 # reiverpacific 2013-05-08 20:43
This county's judicial system is more and more resembling Hitler's dreaded "People's court", presided over by the appalling Roland Freisler, whose decisions of "Guilty as charged" were never in doubt and for whom both the puppet defense and the accused were treated as already-proven traitors and verbally harangued throughout the brief show-trials, followed almost inevitably by the guillotine in short order.
And this kangaroo-court expanded the pool of jurors to allegedly find and "unbiased" (a.k.a. ignorant and unconcerned with justice) collection of humanity who'd have no problem with toeing the official line.
Again, "Death Culture" is the only appropriate title.
The term "nuclear security" is in itself as oxymoronic as "clean coal", both supported by the current "change you can believe in" administration.
Look at Hanford and Fukushima, between which pincers of toxins we on the West Coast are caught.
Reality and truth is the true prisoner here, as in all wars.
These people should be lauded, not condemned.
+35 # oakes721 2013-05-08 20:45
Interesting how those 'authorities' who sabotage and vandalize all of the peoples
worldwide are first to make these charges against those whose dignity makes them rise to act on our behalf, to exercise the freedoms of speech and assembly to protest those entities who would do harm to all they touch.
+9 # unitedwestand 2013-05-08 22:10
This case makes me think that we should have people in the jury who know what they are doing. If these jurors didn't have a clue that these three are heroes, were protecting their lives, their children's lives the very meaning of the 1st Amendment we are in serious trouble.

WHAT AN INJUSTICE. GOD (I'm an Atheist)) help us and eff U jury and justice.
+3 # WestWinds 2013-05-09 10:51
Don't blame the system for the ignorance of the jurors. What we have is corrupt people running the system drafting ignorant people they can easily sway and manipulate.
+12 # Dave45 2013-05-08 22:30
In the US it is OK for Mr. Obama to conspire in the murder of people around the world (including US citizens), but people simply protesting America's state terrorism can receive 20 years in prison. Welcome to the American Gulag.
+7 # Polar Bear 2013-05-08 22:56
What is wrong with that jury??Scary for the future of the country..
+5 # 4angels4 2013-05-09 03:21
"...the trial of three peace protesters ..."

Don't you mean, "nuclear protesters?"
+11 # kalpal 2013-05-09 05:02
Security at nuclear facilities was well known to be a sick joke for the past few decades. When a military team was sent to see about breeching security into a plant, they managed to not only gain entrance but take control of the facility within a few minutes after they removed a lock from a gate. This nation has as close to zero security at essential plants as humanly possible.
+4 # WestWinds 2013-05-09 10:53
Yah, it's called "cutting corners for profit". This is how the privatized world of corporate ownership rolls; think Gulf "spill".
+6 # cafetomo 2013-05-09 08:09
Newsflash. Embarrassing authorities now illegal. Showing them up for idiots has never been a hard job, they make such a mess of it that not doing so, is.

A jury of your peers is a group lacking the candle power to get out of jury duty, so expect a malleable lot, easily hypnotized by the waving of flag and liberal use of catch phrases and buzz words that rhyme with "terrorist".

On the upside, even children quickly learn "wrong" and "illegal" have a relationship that depends solely on who is holding the stick. Just don't expect "authority" to hold much truck with them any time soon.
+7 # randrjwr 2013-05-09 10:17
Authority hasn't meant anything since we let Nixon off the hook for Watergate. That was treason unpunished, and so it has gone since, in too many cases to enumerate here.
+10 # David Starr 2013-05-09 12:14
Un-friggin-beli vable. Three unarmed individuals in a symbolic protest a threat as opposed to the nuclear threat itself? Un-friggin-beli evable.
0 # SusanT136 2013-05-11 07:25
"the prosecution contends...the act damaged the credibility of Y-12 worldwide."

It boggles my mind how the protesters can be held responsible for exposing a flaw in Y-12, as though they created the flaw. Exposing a flaw is criminal, whereas covering up that flaw is not? Once again, we are headed into dangerous territory of persecuting the whistleblowers and protesters. What is wrong with that jury???? They apparently just ignored retired Colonel Ann Wright's testimony.

Can they appeal? Is there a legal defense fund? This is a very dangerous precedent.
0 # CarmelMawle 2013-05-21 19:51
Please sign the White House petition to pardon the Oak Ridge Three.

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