A little over a year ago, Justus Ireland plead guilty to setting a fire at Stock Lumber Co. in Utah. Ireland painted “ELF” on a truck at the lumber company and used an unattended fax machine at a health clinic to fax a letter to local television stations claiming the fire in the name of the Earth Liberation Front.
Ireland, who was on probation for aggregated sexual abuse charges in Arizona, reached a plead deal that reduced his maximum sentence to just 5 to 20 years. Ireland was ultimately sentenced to only seven years and three months.
Now, Ireland his appealing that sentence, claiming that prosecutors promised he would get the minimum 5 year sentence if he plead guilty, and that his lawyer deceived him about the nature of the plead deal he agreed to.
Ireland now claims that he was under the influence of a number of drugs, including antidepressant klonopin along with valium, percocet, xanax, oxycontin, and morphine when he agreed to the plea deal. Ireland is asking that his sentence be reduced to the fiver years he claims he was promised.
There is an interesting side note in the Salt Lake Tribune’s story about whether or not Ireland’s act of violence was really an Earth Liberation Front crime. According to the Tribune,
. . . A former lumberyard employee who had been fired for missing work, he [Ireland] admitted throwing lighted flares into a truck and under a pallet behind the company building.
He also spray-painted “ELF,” an apparent reference to the anarchist Earth Liberation Front, on the side of the building and on a truck. Authorities initially called Ireland a “domestic terrorist,” but later said the purported ELF connection was merely to throw investigators off.
Although Earth Liberation Front-oriented sites reprinted stories about Ireland’s crime as if it was the sort of legitimate act it favored, the Earth Liberation Prisoners Support Network refused to support Ireland given his history of sexual assault. At the time it issued a press release saying,
Justus Ireland is charged with involvement in the ALF arson which occurred
against an animal husbandry target in Utah. He is also individually charged
with an arson against the Stock Building Supply company. This latter action
was claimed by the ELF. Following his being charged Ireland has been
remanded into custody. However ELP is NOT supporting Ireland as he is a
known sex offender who has previously carried out a violent sexual assault
on a female child. A quick search on the web will bring up Ireland’s sexual
offending history. ELP does not support sex offenders and therefore will
not be supporting Ireland either now or at any time in the future. In
solidarity with his young victim we would encourage others to take a similar
This was an odd line to take. After all, this group recognizes and offers support for Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, cop killer Mumia Abu Jamal, and convicted murderer Fran Thompson. It is not like Earth Liberation Prisoner’s Support Network actually cares about the killing of human beings — Kaczynski tried to blow up a commercial airliner and only narrowly failed due to a faulty timing mechanism (for awhile, investigators assumed the Unabomber was a disgruntled airline employee). He did manage to kill the owner of a computer store (you know those evil computers — the sort ELPSN uses to e-mail its press releases).
Presumably the ELPSN’s refusal to take on Ireland is based on its view that its supporters will find nothing wrong with trying to blow up an airliner, but they might be aghast at supporting someone convicted of sexual assault. Ireland should have stuck to blowing up mass transit instead of sexually assaulting young girls and perhaps he’d still have the ear of the ELF wackos.
Press Release. Earth Liberation Prisoners Support Network, October 10, 2004.
‘Amped up’ arsonist: Lawyers duped me. Pamela Manson, The Salt Lake Tribune, October 5, 2005.