SENTENCING DATES CHANGED FOR KINGS BAY PLOWSHARES 7
On Friday, May 22, Judge Lisa Godbey Wood of the Southern District Federal court of Georgia in Brunswick assigned new dates for seven defendants, according to the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 lead attorney, Bill Quigley. Many of the defendants had asked the court to postpone their May 28th and 29th court dates to accommodate their right to be sentenced in person in court, not by video, witnessed by the public and press. The seven were convicted of three felonies and one misdemeanor on October 24, 2019 for their nonviolent, symbolic disarmament act at the Kings Bay Trident submarine base.
The defendants had also asked for home confinement during this time of COVID-19, as entering prison could be a death sentence. Their request was denied by the prosecution.
Elizabeth McAlister, at 80 yrs-old the eldest of the KBP7 defendants and widow of Phil Berrigan, was notified that her court date was changed from May 28 to June 8. She is to be sentenced by video while she stays at her home in Connecticut. McAlister will probably not face additional prison time because she served over 17 months before trial. There is expected to be an audio feed for the public to listen but the number is not known yet. The US attorney is asking for 3-5 years of probation and restitution. (Interview available)
Martha Hennessy, granddaughter of Dorothy Day who founded the Catholic Worker Movement was granted an adjournment and given a new date on June 29, 3:30 pm, in Brunswick, GA. (Interview available)
Patrick O’Neill, Clare Grady, Mark Colville, Carmen Trotta, and Fr. Steve Kelly, S.J. (who has been detained in jails in Camden County and Glynn County for more than 25 months) also asked for an adjournment and were given June 29 and 30 as their new dates to appear with no times specified yet. They were not told whether they’ll be allowed to be sentenced in person in open court or whether they’ll have to travel to Brunswick to be sentenced remotely by video once they get there. (Interviews available)
The sentencing recommendations call for 18 months for Liz McAlister , up to 45 months for Steve Kelly (already served 2+ years) and up to 27 months for the others. Supervised probation and restitution are also requested. Judge Wood is free to sentence higher or downward from these guidelines.
As they wait for sentencing, each of the defendants and their families continue to serve as their communities’ human needs grow exponentially during this COVID-19 pandemic. The defendants call for the release of people in prisons, in federal and state prisons, county and city jails, especially the elderly, the infirm and all non-violent offenders.
Before the court changed the May 28th and 29th sentencing date, two webinars were held, titled Disarm & Divest During COVID-19, with over 4,200 views by this date.
In Part 1 (link here), hosted by Code Pink on May 9, six of the defendants shared a panel with special guests Dr. Cornel West, Medea Benjamin, Jeremy Scahill, and was facilitated by Norman Solomon.
Part 2’s panel (link to website), hosted by KBP7 on May 16, included four defendants and attorney Bill Quigley. It was facilitated by Jeremy Scahill.
On April 4, 2018, acting on the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination, Mark Colville, Clare Grady, Martha Hennessy, Fr. Steve Kelly, S.J., Elizabeth McAlister, Patrick O’Neill, and Carmen Trotta used a bolt cutter to enter a remote gate at Naval Base Kings Bay in St. Mary’s, GA and walked two miles through swamp and brush. They then split into three groups and prayed, prayerfully and symbolically poured blood, spray-painted messages of disarming nuclear weapons and to love one another. They hammered on parts of a shrine to nuclear missiles, hung banners quoting Dr. King, “the ultimate logic of racism is genocide” and another naming the ominicidal logic of Trident. The seven waited to be arrested.
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