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green scare | prisons & prisoners

Court Reports: Daniel McGowan and Chelsea Gerlach

Here are brief updates about what happned in court yesterday. Daniel McGowan was arraigned on new charges and Chelsea Gerlach had a second detention hearing. Sorry they're a day late.
Yesterday, I attended hearings for Daniel McGowan and Chelsea Gerlach.

Daniel was arraigned on 16 new counts. Two of the counts charge Daniel with attempted Arson at Superior Lumber Company, and the other 14 stem from the fire at Jefferson Poplar farm in Clatskanie. These charges add another mandatory life sentence if convicted.

There will be a status hearing on January 9th at 1:30pm in front of Judge Coffin.
Trial is set (for now) February 28 at 9am in front of Judge Aiken.

Chelsea's lawyer presented arguments in favor of her release following the motion filed Wednesday. Her lawyer argued that Chelsea should be released and asked that the judge evaluate the motives of the two named informants that appear to be all the Gov has as evidence. He said, "The government has jumped in bed with a man who faces life, who is now loose in the community, who has admitted to setting at least three and maybe a fourth fire." The judge denied Chelsea's release pending trial stating that her defense could argue the questionability of the informant testimony in trial.

Her lawyer also argued that Chelsea has been placed on suicide watch at Lane County Jail due to the apparent suicide of Bill Rodgers en route from Arizona to Washington. He stated that although Chelsea is obviously frustrated, she is not suicidal. She is being held in isolation and has had her blanket and pillow removed, as well as all her legal documents. The judge directed US Marshals to return these items to her unless they had good reason to keep them from her, but told her lawyer that their job is to protect his client from harm.

The Gov also said it plans to charge Chelsea with Identity Theft after a search of her boyfriend, Darren Thurston's residence allegedly turned up falsified documents. They also named Chelsea as a suspect in a Susanville, California arson at a BLM wild horse corral, and said further indictments were forthcoming.

It is important to note that the Gov has stated several times in court proceedings that it plans to make more arrests within the next six months.
gumby can you contact me 23.Dec.2005 10:21


Hey Gumby, if you are comfortable doing so, could you contact me? I would like to coordinate coverage of these  hearings...kirstena@resist.ca

new charges 23.Dec.2005 11:25


what were the new charges for daniel mcgowan? he was originally indicted on 16 counts. what is this business of an additional life sentence? and was he denied bail?

so this means stan who admitted to setting fires is free on bail because he will testify, and daniel will be denied bail although he denies setting any fire?

daniel 23.Dec.2005 11:35

kirsten anderberg kirstena@resist.ca

This is all I know so far...

EUGENE COURT DATES/ Daniel McGowan Info:

According to the Federal Courthouse in Eugene, Daniel McGowan went to court in Judge Coffin's courtroom on Dec 22, 2005. He was there for both his initial hearing and also an arraignment. He entered a NOT GUILTY plea. His counsel has 21 days to present a motion now to the court. Both sides have 10 days to exchange discovery materials now.

The status conference for Daniel is set for Jan 9, 2006, at 1:30 pm, in the Eugene Federal Courthouse. The presence of the accused is required. You may call the court clerk's office at 541-465-6423 to make sure it is happening at that time close to the date. At the status conference, they will determine if the case is ready to go to trial.

The jury trial for Daniel McGowan is set for March 1, 2006 at 9 am in Judge Hogan's courtroom. Remember this could change based on the status hearing and other factors. Always call to make sure.

I am hoping to see the courtroom PACKED on Jan 9 for Daniel. I will be going down to Eugene to cover that hearing as a reporter and to show support. I encourage others to also do so. I encourage carpools from Seattle to head down as well.

I'm sorry.... my info is wrong 23.Dec.2005 13:25

Gumby Cascadia

I am sorry folks. I am not a lawyer, and I'm doing my best to report accurately...

I was mistaken about Daniel's arraignment yesterday. He was arraigned on the original 16 chrges. No additional charges have been added. Sorry for the confusion....

thanks 24.Dec.2005 09:12


thanks gumby. i realize sometimes it is very hard to hear what's going on in court, and to follow all the legalese. i'm glad you were there.