The AP is reporting that William C. Rodgers, recently arrested along with 5 other suspects for various acts of eco-terror, committed suicide today, December 22, 2005.
Mr. Rodgers was a suspect in the 1998 Vail Colorado arson attack, which caused an estimated $12 million in damages.
Here's the AP story, as gleaned from the ABC website:
PHOENIX -- An Arizona bookstore owner charged in the firebombing of a government wildlife lab in Washington committed suicide in his jail cell Thursday, officials said.
William C. Rodgers, 40, of Prescott, Ariz., suffocated after placing a plastic bag over his head while in a one-person cell in Flagstaff, the Coconino County medical examiner said.
Rodgers was one of six people arrested earlier this month in connection with ecoterror attacks in Oregon and Washington in recent years. He was accused of setting fire to the Agriculture Department's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services facility in Olympia, Wash., in 1998.
Federal court documents last week said Rodgers had been linked to a meeting of Earth Liberation Front members in western Colorado where the firebombing of a Colorado ski resort, one of the costliest ecoterror crimes in the U.S., was planned.
It is true that Mr. Rodgers died before he was tried, and therefore deserves the presumption of innocence. It is equally true that if he were to be convicted, he'd face heavy jail time, perhaps remaining in stir until he was 60.
I suppose we'll just have to wait to see what sort of evidence there was against him, but I'm betting it was pretty strong and I'll go on record as saying he simply succumbed to what he viewed as a hopeless future in the big house.
I hope all the budding zealots out there who are contemplating an act of eco- or AR-violence take a long hard look at the pressures Mr. Rodgers must have been under, and think very carefully about whether they want to risk their future by acting out as he allegedly did.
My advice to these people stands: overcome your arrogance, and don't assume that you're too smart and too careful to get caught.
The feds are really starting to take eco- and AR-terror seriously, and it's going to become increasingly difficult for perpetrators to hide indefinitely.
It really doesn't take much courage to sneak about in the night and hit some "soft" target.
It takes a great deal more courage to deal with the consequences of what you've done when you're caught. And even if you're not caught, you've got to live with the constant fear of being apprehended.
Thanks to Dave S and Vicci A for the heads up about.