California Activists Receive Jail Sentences; Anti-Stephens Protesters Receive Fines

In October, Peter Schnell, 21, and Matthew Whyte, 18, pleaded guilty to federal weapons charges. The two animal rights activists were caught in possession of 11 gallons of gasoline, matches and other paraphernalia which they planned to use to firebomb several dairy trucks in Capitola, California.

The two were sentenced in January with Schnell receiving a two-year sentence and Whyte a 14 month prison term. This was the minimum possible sentence U.S. Circuit Court Judge James Ware could have given the pair. Ware apparently thought the statements of regret that both defendants offered in court were sincere.

Meanwhile, an Arkansas court is beginning to dispose of the charges against anti-Huntingdon Life Sciences protesters who were involved in a riot-like protests against Stephens back in October organized by Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty. All of the arrested protesters were from outside of Arkansas.

Alicia Skeats, 20, of Coffeyville, Texas, and Michael Durschmind, 41, of Chicago, were convicted of misdemeanor disorderly conduct and were fined $100 and ordered to pay $100 in court costs. The fines will be deducted from a $300 cash bond each of them posted. Both Skeats and Durschmind plan to appeal their conviction.

Josh Harper plead guilty to violating a city public assembly ordinance and was fined $100 and $100 in court costs, though the fines were suspended on the recommendation of the prosecutor.


Animal rights activists get prison time. San Francisco Chronicle, January 29, 2002.

Two activists fined $100 for disorderly conduct. The Associated Press, January 26, 2002.

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