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Sentencing ends case of vandals who trespassed on naval base

April 10, 2021 GMT

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — The seventh and final defendant found guilty of illegal entry and vandalism of a Navy base in Georgia in 2018 has been sentenced in the case.

U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood sentenced Mark Peter Colville, 59, of New Haven, Connecticut, on Friday to 21 months in federal prison and ordered him to pay $33,503 in restitution, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia David H. Estes said in a news release.

Colville and six others were found guilty in October 2019 on charges of conspiracy, destruction of property on a naval installation, depredation of government property and trespass.

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After his prison time is finished, Colville will be required to serve three years of supervised release, Estes’ office said.

“Mark Colville’s sentence brings closure to a prosecution that represents the triumph of the rule of law over misguided principles,” Estes said. “Colville and his attention-seeking cohorts attempted to make a grand statement by breaking into and vandalizing a secure government facility, but in the end succeeded only in adding felony convictions to their criminal records.”

Colville and his co-conspirators cut a padlock on a gate of an outer security fence at Submarine Base Kings Bay in St. Marys, Georgia, on April 4, 2018. Once through the security fence, the trespassers split into two groups and then damaged and vandalized property inside the facility before being taken into custody by naval security personnel, authorities said.

Colville has eight criminal convictions related to trespassing and damaging government property, according to Estes. The other defendants — the Rev. Stephen Michael Kelly, 72, of Massachusetts; Patrick O’Neill, 65, of Garner, North Carolina; Elizabeth McAlister, 81, of New London, Connecticut; Clare Therese Grady, 62, of Ithaca, New York; Martha Hennessy, 65, of Perkinsville, Vermont; and Carmen Trotta, 58, of New York — were previously sentenced for their participation in the Kings Bay vandalism.

The group didn’t deny breaking into Kings Bay. They argued instead that federal law protected their act of anti-nuclear protest on religious grounds.

The Kings Bay 7, as they are known, are part of a 39-year-old anti-nuclear movement called Plowshares, inspired by the pacific prediction of the biblical prophet Isaiah that the nations of the world shall “beat their swords into plowshares.” Its activists have made a signature of breaking into nuclear weapons bases to hammer on buildings and military hardware and pour human blood on them.