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.