October 14, 2020
Fr. Steve Kelly and Patrick O’Neill Sentencing This Week
You Can Listen In — And Take Action
Scroll below for court call-in info.
After living two and a half years in the Glynn County jail, Fr. Steve Kelly, S.J. will be the second of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 to be sentenced by US District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood on Thursday, Oct. 15 at 1 pm. ET. Fr. Steve has surpassed the recommended confinement guidelines for his sentencing.
“Recourse to appeal is futile, pathetic, and dangerous because all the judiciary’s rulings precluded our jury from hearing any defense,” Fr. Steve wrote the judge prior to his sentencing. “The circuit, appeal, the entire judiciary has thwarted redress that would fulfill the purpose and mandate of the signatories of the Nuremberg Accords. For this reason, I am a political prisoner of conscience for Christ.” (See below for his entire statement.)
Since leaving jail in May 2018, Patrick O’Neill has awaited sentencing under probation supervision and daily curfews in his hometown of Garner, NC. He is a hospital chaplain and cofounder of the Fr. Charlie Mulholland Catholic Worker community with his wife, Mary, and eight children. He will appear for sentencing before Judge Wood this Friday, Oct. 16, at 1 pm ET.
The Kings Bay Plowshares 7 face years in prison for exposing illegal and immoral nuclear weapons that threaten all life on Earth. The seven nonviolently and symbolically disarmed the Trident nuclear submarine base at Kings Bay, GA on April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. (View KBP7 reading their statement here
The remaining four defendants, Mark Colville, Clare Grady, Martha Hennessy, and Carmen Trotta, are scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 12 and 13. Liz McAlister was sentenced via video in her home in Connecticut in June.
CALL-IN INFORMATION FOR SENTENCING THIS WEEK: Call in to hear the sentencing of Fr. Steve Kelly, Thurs. 1 pm ET, and Patrick O’Neill, Fri. 1 pm ET.
- Dial 888-684-8852, Access Code: 8878734, Security Code: 1234.
- An alternate number is available: 888-684-8852, Access Code: 2296092, Security Code: 1234.
PLEASE DON’T COME TO BRUNSWICK
Our seven friends write: “In the interest of public safety, and out of love for our supporters during this Covid-19 pandemic, the seven Kings Bay Plowshares members request that no one come to Brunswick for the sentencing hearings scheduled for October 15-16. Thank you all for your love and support, which sustains us.”
FOR LOCALS NEAR BRUNSWICK
For those in the Brunswick area, more information on local activities around the sentencing can be obtained through Sarah Cool at (404) 449-7893 or email@example.com.
The KBP7 invites everyone to pray, act, and sing(!) in solidarity with them. Click here for more.
Sometime after sentencing, it is expected that marshals will take Steve to the federal prison in Washington state to appear in court in Tacoma for an unresolved federal probation violation from an earlier disarmament action at the Kitsap-Bangor Trident nuclear submarine base. It is hard to know how soon after sentencing he will be moved, or how long it will take before he reaches his destination. COVID-19 has had a significant impact on Bureau of Prisons transport. If you send a postcard to Steve at the Brunswick County Detention Center, if he is no longer there, it will be returned to you. We will send updates on his whereabouts as we know them.
WATCH THE OCTOBER 2020 FESTIVAL OF HOPE
Festival of Hope Webinar with the Kings Bay Plowshares Seven- Sun. Oct. 11, 2020
In preparation of the sentencings, Kings Bay Plowshares codefendants and supporters gathered virtually because of COVID limitations. It features several of the KBP7 and fellow Plowshares activists Steve Baggarly, Susan Crane, Marsha Timmel, and words from Fr. Steve Kelly, read by Felice Cohen-Joppa, and others.
We understand that many are struggling financially at this time. We ask for donations only if you are able and doing well. Thank you for all the support you have given through these past two and a half years. Your support for the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 will help cover the ongoing costs surrounding the seven co-defendants while in prison and their families and communities. Checks can be sent to Plowshares, PO Box 3087, Washington, DC 20010. Or donate online here at this link:https://www.nonviolenceinternational.net/donate_isaiah
. Thank you!
FR. STEVE’S PRE-SENTENCING DECLARATION
This statement was filed with the court before Fr. Steve Kelly’s October 15, 2020 sentencing, not to be read in court.
Pre-sentencing Declaration of Pro Se Defendant’s Conscientious Objection To and Non-compliance With Any and All Post-incarceration Conditions
“While still in chains, I, pro se defendant Stephen Michael Kelly, S.J., file this declaration in an attempt to remove any ambiguity and avoid all misunderstanding, come time of sentencing.
I assert the innocence of the Kings Bay Plowshares. But this statement is my own declaration. Both my conscientious objection and my Religious Freedom Restoration Act testimony are attempts to fulfill the mandate of the Nuremberg Accords. This witness has me confronting and engaged with the omnicidal policies of the U.S. government. Recourse to appeal is futile, pathetic, and dangerous because all the judiciary’s rulings precluded our jury from hearing any defense. The circuit, appeal, the entire judiciary has thwarted redress that would fulfill the purpose and mandate of the signatories of the Nuremberg Accords. For this reason, I am a political prisoner of conscience for Christ. The judiciary has been unable to see the Isaian vision as a way out of this spiral of violence. The Isaiah 2:4 vision is an imperative to conversion. The judiciary dangerously legitimizes a nuclear holocaust in following previous rulings. The precedents, when followed, have functioned as a gag order. This court would not allow the jury, the triers of fact, to hear what was recognized in our Religious Freedom Restoration Act evidence; we were at the Trident base to preach against the sin that flourishes in weapons of mass destruction.
“Given that situation, my participation in any aspect of supervised release is to comply with and accommodate the U.S.’ compelling interest of the nuclear weapons agenda. Compelling interest is a euphemism for 1,000’s of Hiroshimas and Nagasakis. And, as in the case of the duty of citizens’ obligation to expose the Nazi concentration camps’ industrial scale genocide in Germany/Europe in the 1930s and 1940s, the Nuremberg Accords were/are both an appraisal and indictment. The nuclear weapons are flying extermination ovens. In conscience, I can’t let any court order or threat restrict me from imitation of the Good Shepherd, Jesus when he placed himself, laying down his life between the wolf, the thief and the flock. In this case, the wolf is the Trident aimed at millions and the thief is the larceny from the poor predicted by Eisenhower in his Oval Office departure.
“I answer to a higher authority in that my faith imperative, as outlined in the tenets of the Catechism, missions me to respond to the needs of the poor, oppressed, disenfranchised, in any locality and without any exclusion to those with felony records. I am indigent and itinerant. I will respond, should I be found worthy, led by the Spirit to witness the prophetic vision offered in Isaiah 2:4 by fulfilling its embodiment.
“I am aware that imposition of supervised release is a guideline option, not mandatory for this court. I point out that supervised release was not intended for anti-nuclear activists. Consistent with the above, I will in conscience refuse any fines and restitution. This renders probation’s role to oversee collection pointless. In the wake of sentencing, I will be taken in chains to Federal Court, Tacoma, Washington, to answer for the warrant that stemmed from my stating in open court in September 2016 that I refused supervised release. And I suggested to the federal magistrate presiding to translate any term of supervised release into a period of incarceration. This has been consistent in all my previous Plowshares witnesses.
“In closing this declaration, if it is not apparent that our nonviolent witness at the Trident base was to save not a few but a multitude of lives, then let this instrument serve to make that an explicit recapitulation of that intention.”