Jeremy Beckham Leads Protest Against University of Utah Researcher

The Salt Lake Tribune reported in January on a protest involving about 25 animal rights activists against University of Utah researcher Allesandra Angelucci.

The protest was organized by University of Utah student and Utah Primate Freedom Project’s Jeremy Beckham, who has crossed path with the University on a number of occasions.

The protesters used typical animal rights distortions. According to the Salt Lake Tribune (emphasis added),

On the street below [Angelucci’s residence], about 25 protesters held candles and signs proclaiming the immorality of primate research. Flashing images of caged monkeys lit the street from the four 100-inch screens of the “Tiger Truck” — essentially a moving van mounted with giant TVs. The truck was on loan to Beckham from the Showing Animals Respect and Kindness organization. The images displayed on its screens were captioned with brief insults like: “Angelucci gets rich abusing animals” and “Be advised: Ms. Angelucci has a violent nature. Keep pets away from her.” None of the images, however, were from the University of Utah, Beckham said.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Angelucci received a $400,000 primate research grant in August 2004 and this was the second protest against her home.

University of Utah spokeswoman Coralie Alder told the Salt Lake Tribune that Beckham has a First Amendment right to protest, but that, “We support the right of our faculty members to pursue their work from intimidation.”


Protesters gather outside researcher’s home. Michael Westley, The Salt Lake Tribune, January 31, 2005.

Harrison David Burrows, Josh Demmitt Sentenced to 2 1/2 Years

Convicted animal rights terrorists Harrison David Burrows, 18, and Josh Demmitt, 19, were sentenced in January to two-and-a-half years each in prison for their in an arson at Brigham Young University.

Burrows reached a plea agreement with prosecutors in October 2004 and plead guilty to one count of felony destruction of property by fire. He faced up to five years on that charge. In return for the plea agreement, Burrows agreed to testify against Josh Demmitt whom Burrows told prosecutors was also involved in the arson.

Demmitt also decided to take a plea bargain and plead guilty in October 2004 to one county of felony destruction of property by fire as well.

Burrows and Demmitt helped set fire to an animal husbandry farm on Ellsworth Farm at Brigham Young University on July 8, 2004. The fire caused an estimated $30,000 in damage.


Second Man Sentenced for Utah Farm Fire. Associated Press, January 18, 2005.

SLC Snitch: Harrison David Burrows. No Compromise, Issue 25.

Teen gets 2 1/2 years for setting BYU eco-terror fire. Associated Press, January 11, 2005.

Lawyer Who Defended Activist Faces More Legal Problems

Utah defense attorney Geoffrey Clark was back in the news this month after the lawyer was arrested in a drug sting — Clark allegedly offered his legal services in exchange for drugs.

Clark has a long history of accusation of unethical acts from suborning perjury to driving under the influence of marijuana. One of those cases saw Clark being acquitted of suborning perjury in a case involving an animal rights terrorist.

In 1997, Clark represented animal rights extremist Trev Poulson, then 19, who tried to burn down a fur store. A security guard at Montgomery Fur Company in West Haven, Utah, observed three people trying to light gasoline they had spread on and around the store.

Poulson’s accomplices in the attempted arson, Cameron Kraus and Bret Walton, both agreed to plead guilty to aggravate arson and received sentences of just 30 days in jail and 30 days of home confinement. Poulson rejected a plea bargain and went to trial. His girlfriend, Gretta Schin, testified that at the time Poulson was supposed to be trying to commit arson, he was in fact with her.

The jury didn’t believe any of it, and convicted Poulson. He was sentenced to two years in jail.

But shortly after his conviction, Poulson reached an agreement with prosecutors to testify against Clark. As a result, Poulson served only a few months in jail before his sentence was suspended and he was given 36 months probation.

At Clark’s 1999 perjury trial, Poulson testified that he wanted to take the same plea bargain deal offered to Kraus and Walton, but that Clark had a vendetta against the prosecutor and talked Poulson into going to trial.

Poulson testified that he and Schin conspired to have Schin falsely testify that the two were together at the time of the arson (both Poulson and Schin were granted immunity from prosecution on perjury charges before testifying). But Poulson’s testimony backfired against prosecutor’s in Clark’s case. Poulson testified that Clark had coached them on how to lie, but said he couldn’t remember if the idea to produce Schin as a false alibi witness was his or Clark’s.

The jury in Clark’s case, as in Poulson’s case, simply didn’t believe either Poulson or Schin. The jury foreman told the Associated Press that neither Poulson nor Schin were credible.

Clark was acquitted on all charges.


Attorney acquitted on perjury charge. Associated Press, April 24, 1999.

Attorney’s former clients say they were told to lie. Associated Press, December 2, 1998.

‘Bad-boy’ lawyer has own legal woes. Stephen Hunt, The Salt Lake Tribune, November 26, 2004.

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.

Utah Records Committee Refuses to Waive Fee for Research Details

Earlier this year, animal rights activist and University of Utah student Jeremy Beckham won a victory when the Utah State Records Committee unanimously ruled that the university had to provide him information on primate studies that Beckham requested under the freedom of information act. But the university turned around and demanded that Beckham pay $300 for the primate research information.

Beckham appealed that proposed charge to the State Records Committee which in September ruled that the university had acted appropriately and could charge such fees.

The university claims that because the “proprietary nature of the research involved” that it had to employ a lawyer, a research scientist and a lab technician to analyze the information and decide what could and could not be released under the state’s freedom of information act. The university then gave Beckham a bill for $299.08 to cover those expenses.

Utah’s freedom of information act contains a vague statement that state agencies may charge “reasonable” fees to cover their costs in compiling information requested, and the commission decided that in this case the University of Utah’s fees were reasonable. In its decision the committee wrote,

In this unique circumstance, scientists, technicians and lawyers are the lowest paid employees of the University who have the necessary skill and training to perform the review of the requested records necessary to identify the portions that must be redacted to protect the UniversityÂ’s intellectual property and other information protected by GRAMA. After considering the evidence, the Committee is persuaded that the segregation and redaction fees detailed by the University are reasonable. Therefore, we affirm the UniversityÂ’s decision to deny Mr. BeckhamÂ’s request for a fee waiver.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Records Committee member Cherie Willis noted that when the committee was deciding the issue of whether or not the records could be made public at all, testimony from witnesses indicated that specialists would be required to compile the information,

In our previous discussions, we heard testimony from expert witnesses who said these type of individuals would be required and that it would be expensive. There were no objections to it at that time.

Beckham for his part continued to insist that $300 is unreasonable,

All this means is that the taxpayer has no right to information as to how their money is being used to conduct these experiments unless they are wealthy.

The full text of the Records Committee’s decision can be read here.


State panel won’t drop fees for public information. Salt Lake Tribune, September 17, 2004.

Harrison David Burrows Pleads Guilty to ALF Arson

Harrison David Burrows, 18, admitted in September to setting a fire at Ellsworth Farm on the campus Brigham Young University this past July.

Burrows reached a plea agreement with prosecutors in which he plead guilty to one count of destruction of property by fire. In exchange for Burrows’ testimony about his actions and actions of others involved in animal rights violence, prosecutors agreed to recommend that he receive only a 5 year sentence. Burrows’ sentencing is scheduled for January 10, 2005.

Burrows filed a statement as part of the plea agreement admitting his guilt and saying, “We started the fires to make a political statement on behalf of the Animal Liberation Front.” Burrows also admitted to a number of other acts of vandalism at Brigham Young University, including the release of birds and rabbits from a BYU farm. Authorities apparently don’t plan to charge him in those incidents.


18-year-old admits setting fire at BYU. Associated Press, September 15, 2004.