A California woman has pleaded not guilty to charges related to a 2001 arson at the University of Washington horticulture center. The arson was claimed by the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), the most active environmental extremist movement in the United States.
Briana Waters, a 30-year-old violin teacher from Berkeley, is charged with arson and using or carrying a destructive device during a crime of violence, according to a two-count indictment unsealed on April 6, 2006, in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
Waters is the 15th person indicted on charges related to 17 acts of domestic terrorism claimed by ELF and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) in five western states between 1996 and 2001.
Two other suspects, Stanislas Meyerhoff and William Rodgers were previously implicated in the University of Washington arson, which caused approximately $2 million in damage. Meyerhoff, Rodgers and “other persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury” allegedly set the fire, according to the January indictment (Rodgers committed suicide in prison while awaiting charges in January). Waters was not named in the original indictment.
Waters is scheduled to face trial in June.
§ On April 6, 2006, a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment charging Joseph Dibee, 38, Rebecca Rubin, 32, Darren Thurston, 36, and Justin Solondz, 26, with conspiracy to commit arson, arson of a government building and use of a destructive device during and in relation to a crime of violence. The charges stem from a 2001 arson at a federal corral in Susanville, California. Dibee, Rubin and Thurston already have been indicted on federal charges in Oregon related to 17 acts of domestic terrorism claimed by ELF and ALF in five western states between 1996 and 2001. Solondz, previously un-indicted, is the 16th person indicted in the case (Solondz, Rubin and Dibee are fugitives).
§ Ryan Daniel Lewis, 22, was sentenced on March 17, 2006, to six years in prison for a string of Northern California arsons on behalf of ELF. Lewis will also have to pay $243,000 in restitution for setting fire to an apartment building under construction in Sutter Creek in February 2005. Two other defendants, Eva Rose Holland, 26, and Lili Marie Holland, 21, received two-year sentences for joining Lewis in attempting to set fire to several structures under construction in Lincoln.