It's hardly surprising . . . after praying for the courts mercy for the eco-sabotage crimes he's accused of having committed, Stanislas "Jack" Meyerhoff appears to be willing to do something more concrete in defense of his sorry . . . in defense of himself. He will testify against others:
GRANTS PASS, Ore - One of the six people arrested this month on federal charges they were part of an ecoterrorism campaign has agreed to testify against others charged in the case, according to court papers.
A defense motion filed in U.S. District Court in Eugene, Ore., says Stanislas "Jack" Meyerhoff, 28, a former Eugene resident who has lately been attending Piedmont Community College in Charlottesville, Va., is one of the unnamed informants the federal government has relied on for evidence in the investigation.
Public defender Craig Weinerman named Meyerhoff and another man, Jacob Ferguson, as informants in a motion for the release of Chelsea Gerlach, who is being held without bail.
I haven't found much on Mr. Ferguson yet. But it sounds like Ms Gerlach should be preparing for a very, very un-merry Xmas.
It's tragic, but she's the author of her own destiny, and what she apparently wrote a few years ago cannot be undone.
The motion is to be argued today in U.S. District Court in Eugene.
Gerlach, 28, who grew up in the Eugene area and worked as a disc jockey in Portland, faces trial on indictments she and Meyerhoff helped topple a high tension power line outside Bend in 1999 and that she served as a lookout while others were setting fire to the Childers Meat Co. plant in Eugene in 2001.
No group took responsibility for the toppling the electric tower, but the Animal Liberation Front took credit for the meat plant fire to protest the treatment of livestock.
Authorities have also named Gerlach as a suspect in the 1998 arson of a ski resort in Vail, Colo., that caused $12 million in damages, though she has not been charged. The Earth Liberation Front took credit for that, saying it was fighting ski resort expansion into lynx habitat.
Those arson charges are very heavy — if she's convicted, she could face life in prison.
Meyerhoff also was indicted on charges he firebombed the office of Superior Lumber Co. in Glendale, Ore., now known as Swanson Group, in 2001 as well as offices and a truck shop at the Jefferson Poplar Farm in Clatskanie, Ore. Earth Liberation Front took credit for both those.
In a status hearing Tuesday, Meyerhoff asked the court to show mercy.
"I pray that the court is merciful with those who have renounced these crimes and have moved on to be students and professionals," he said.
Weinerman characterized Meyerhoff and Ferguson as "serial arsonists" whose credibility was undermined by the fact that they face life in prison without parole if convicted on charges of being in possession of a firebomb.
If I were facing such penalties, I'd be singing like a canary. I'd be doing everything I could to save my sorry self.
He argued that the weakness of the government's case and Gerlach's strong ties to the community - her mother lives in Eugene and her father lives in Sweet Home - should qualify her for release on bail.
Weinerman wrote in the motion that following his arrest Dec. 7, Meyerhoff admitted he was involved in the Childers Meat fire and claimed Gerlach also was involved, but could not recall her specific role. He has not been charged in that fire.
Ferguson, who told authorities he also took part in the meat plant fire, characterized Gerlach's role as a lookout with a hand-held radio, the motion said.
The motion gave no age or hometown for Ferguson, but noted that he has not been charged in any of the cases.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Sheldahl said the prosecution would respond to the motion in court.
Ferguson also admitted taking part in the firebombing of a U.S. Department of Agriculture plant research lab in Olympia in 1998, the Superior Lumber Co. fire in 2001 and the tree farm fire the same year, the motion said.
"Ferguson has admitted to actually setting the fires in these arsons according to an affidavit filed in connection with the issuance of search warrants in these cases," the motion said.
Well, there you have it. Given Mr. Meyerhoff's earlier contrition and the fact that he fingered Ms Gerlach, I can't really say I'm surprised that he's willing to testify against her.
All in all, this is pretty dramatic stuff, the drama being exceeded only by the tragedy of young people screwing up their lives for a fleeting commitment to a false cause.
All I can really say is that before you decide to firebomb some place for your ideology, assume that you will be caught, and ask yourself if you're willing to pay the piper his full price — like spending the rest of your life in the slammer — without regret.
If that's a price you are unwilling to pay, don't do the act. You cannot assume you will not be caught . . .
I don't think either the ELF or ALF Prisoner Support network is going to be soliciting many cards and books for Mr. Meyerhoff — or Mr. Ferguson, for that matter.
Talk about useful idiots . . .