Two women plead guilty to eco-arson at University of Washington
05:19 PM PDT on Wednesday, October 4, 2006Associated Press
King 5 News
An arson fire at University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture in Seattle in May of 2001 caused as much as $7 million in damage.
TACOMA, Wash. - Two women have pleaded guilty for burning down a University of Washington horticulture building - an arson claimed by the Earth Liberation Front (ELF).
Jennifer Kolar, 33, of Seattle and Lacey Phillabum, 31, of Spokane pleaded guilty in federal court in Tacoma to conspiracy, arson and using a firebomb.
Under a plea agreement with federal prosecutors Kolar faces 5-7 years in prison and Phillabaum 3-5 years when they are sentenced in January.
U.S. Attorney Mike McKay said the guilty pleas show violent acts are not a valid form of political speech.
The Earth Liberation Front claimed it was trying to stop genetic engineering of trees with the May 21, 2001, arson that destroyed the Center for Urban Horticulture on the campus in Seattle. It was rebuilt at a cost of $7 million.
The center's work on fast-growing hybrid poplars did not involve genetic engineering.
Three others were indicted in the UW firebombing.
William Rodgers, of Prescott, Ariz., committed suicide in jail after being charged with other acts of ecoterrorism.
Briana Waters, of Berkeley, Calif., has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for trial in May.
Justin Solondz, formerly of Jefferson County, Wash. is still at large.