Naval base protesters Stephen Michael Kelly and others found guilty on all counts

(STL.News) – All seven defendants in the April 2018 illegal entry and vandalism of Submarine Base Kings Bay were found guilty on federal charges after a four-day jury trial in U.S. District Court.

Stephen Michael Kelly, Mark Peter Colville, Clare Therese Grady, Martha Hennessy, Elizabeth McAlister, Patrick M. O’Neill, and Carmen Trotta were found guilty of Conspiracy, Destruction of Property on a Naval Installation, Depredation of Government Property, and Trespass, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.  Each defendant faces a sentence of up to 20 years plus six months in prison, and there is no parole in the federal system.  Sentencing will be held at a later date.

“This verdict demonstrates the jury’s agreement with the simple fact of this case: that these individuals violated the security of a military installation and damaged federal government property,” said U.S. Attorney Christine.  “Our office will vigorously protect those who lawfully exercise their Constitutional rights to protest peacefully, but we will aggressively pursue those who violate the law under the guise of such activities.”

As admitted by the defendants during the trial, with their own videos of the activities shown to jurors, the seven entered an outer security fence at the naval installation after cutting a padlock from a gate during the late hours of April 4, 2018.  Once inside, the group damaged and vandalized property inside the facility before being taken into custody by naval security personnel.

“Damaging the perimeter security of a U.S. Navy base for any purpose poses a significant threat to national security,” said Special Agent in Charge Matt Lascell of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Southeast Field Office.  “NCIS is dedicated to investigating criminal activity that wastes taxpayer money and threatens the Department of the Navy’s ability to carry out its critical mission.”

The case was prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karl Knoche and E. Greg Gilluly Jr., with assistance from Litigation Technologist Dean Athanasopoulos.   Special Agents Thomas Kenney and Barry Clinedinst led the investigation for NCIS.

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