Three SOA Watch demonstrators were convicted and sentenced today to six months in prison — the maximum — for trespassing onto Fort Benning during last year’s annual protest.
Father Luis Vitale, 77, of Oakland, Calif.; Nancy Gwin, 63, of Syracuse, N.Y.; and Kenneth Hayes, 60, of Austin, Texas, were found guilty by U.S. Magistrate G. Mallon Faircloth of entering a military, naval or Coast Guard property.
A fourth, Michael Walli, 61, of Washington, D.C., didn’t appear in court. Faircloth issued a warrant for his arrest.
Vitale chose to begin his incarceration immediately. Gwin and Hayes remain out on bond and will report to prison when notified.
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“It’s the harshest we’ve seen for a very long time,” said Eric LeCompte, event coordinator with SOA Watch. “I mean, I’m stunned by the sentences.”