Two Men Plead Guilty in Separate Arson Attacks

Justus Ireland, 23, and Joshua Demmitt, 18, recently plead guilty in separate cases of arson in Utah that were done on behalf of the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front.

Demmitt plead guilty to participating in the arson of a building at Brigham Young University along with Harrison David Burrows. After his arrest, Burrows apparently provided additional evidence that helped convince Demmitt to plead guilty to destruction of property by fire. Demmitt and Burrows torched the building in the name of the Animal Liberation Front.

Ireland, meanwhile, plead guilty to setting a fire at the Stock Lumber Co. in the early morning hours of June 14, 2004, and set a delivery truck on fire and a pallet containing wood and cardboard. The fire ultimately did an estimated $1.5 million in damages. Ireland painted “ELF” on the truck and on the walls of a the Stock Lumber Co. building. He also walked into a health clinic and used an unattended fax machine to fax a local TV station a release claiming the arson to be an ELF action.

Ireland was already on probation for a 1999 aggravated sexual abuse conviction in Arizona.

In reaching plea deals, both Demmitt and Ireland plead guilty to charges that could earn them anywhere from 5 to 20 years in prison. Had they held out for trial, however, they could have been charged with felonies that would have carried a minimum of 25 years in jail.


Activists puts off plea in BYU farm arson. Matt Canham, The Salt Lake Tribune, September 29, 2004.

Feds charge two men with arson for ecoterrorism fires. Mark Thiessen, Associated Press, September 29, 2004.

‘Domestic terrorist’ charged in fire. Matt Canham, The Salt Lake Tribune, September 29, 2004.

Two men plead guilty in Utah arson fires laid to ecoterrorist groups. Associated Press, October 1, 2004.

Leave a Reply