Justus Ireland Says Its All His Lawyer’s Fault

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.

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.