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Arson for Animals Not Terrorism, Lawyer Says

Posted Jun 6, 2007 1:38 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A federal judge delayed sentencing an animal-rights radical on Tuesday after the defendant’s lawyer objected to her sentence calculations.

U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken of Eugene, Ore., indicated she planned to sentence Jonathan Mark Christopher Paul to four years and three months in prison for setting fire to a horse slaughterhouse. She ordered the parties to file briefs on the sentence after Paul’s defense attorney said it should not have been increased for being an act of terrorism, Associated Press reports.

Paul is among 10 Oregon defendants who pleaded guilty to setting more than 20 fires in five Western states that were attributed to Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front. He is the only member of that group who has not yet been sentenced.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Peifer said during the sentencing hearing that Paul also helped set fire to a veterinary school and freed animals in raids on research labs.

On Monday, the ninth defendant, a member of the Earth Liberation Front, was sentenced to seven years in prison, according to Associated Press. Daniel McGowan had pleaded guilty to setting fires at a tree farm and a lumber company.

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