Student Found Guilty in California Arson
Posted: November 22, 2004
California graduate student William Jensen Cottrell, whose vandalism attacks on car dealerships caused more than $2 million of damage in 2003, was found guilty of arson and related crimes in a Los Angeles court on November 19, 2004.
A jury convicted Cottrell, 24, on eight of nine federal counts in connection with the attacks, acquitting him of the most serious charge – attempting to use a destructive device in a crime of violence. Cottrell damaged approximately 40 Hummers and SUVs at three Southern California dealerships.
Cottrell admitted to spray-painting Earth Liberation Front slogans on SUVs, but said he was unaware that two un-indicted co-conspirators, Tyler Johnson and Michie Oe, intended to throw Molotov cocktails. Johnson and Oe are now fugitives.
Cottrell is scheduled to be sentenced in March, 2005, and faces at least five years in prison.