Suspect in anti-logging arson still at large
Popular forest activist Tre Arrow remained a fugitive on arson charges Wednesday as a federal magistrate in Portland freed his three co-defendants from jail pending trial.
Arrow's co-defendants -- Jacob D.B. Sherman, 20; Angela M. Cesario, 23; and Jeremy D. Rosenbloom, 25 -- pleaded not guilty to charges that they set fire to logging trucks during last year's protests of the Eagle Creek timber sale. Each faces up to 80 years in prison.
Authorities took Sherman and Rosenbloom into custody Tuesday morning, and Cesario turned herself in that evening.
Attorneys for the three said in court Wednesday that their clients have long been aware the FBI was investigating the June 1, 2001, arson at Ray A. Schoppert Logging Inc. near Estacada. Yet none fled, they said.
U.S. Magistrate Judge John Jelderks noted that the three had no criminal records, held jobs and were students at Portland State University. Jelderks released them pending trial but with conditions: They must remain in Portland -- Cesario also may travel to Gresham -- and stay at home between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Also, Jelderks said they are not to associate with environmental groups. None of the activists quibbled about that condition. But Andrew Bates, Sherman's lawyer, argued that it appeared to violate free-speech rights.
"It seems fundamentally unconstitutional," he said.
Jelderks said the defendants were free to return to court seeking redress of the restriction. But he cautioned that FBI agents might monitor such associations as part of their investigation, which might hurt their defense.
Jessica White, a volunteer with Cascadia Forest Alliance, said it seemed unfair to label Arrow a fugitive because he might not be aware of the arson charges.
"Tre is no danger to the public," she said. "He has a history of nonviolence, very public civil disobedience."
Arrow, whose given name is Michael J. Scarpitti, drew attention to the Eagle Creek logging project in July 2000 when he perched 11 days on a ledge outside a U.S. Forest Service building in downtown Portland. He also made an unsuccessful bid for Congress. Bryan Denson: 503-294-7614: firstname.lastname@example.org
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