Darren Thurston pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit arson (from the District of Oregon indictment), and one count relating to the (Eastern District of California) Wild Horse Corral action. His suggested sentence is 37 months for each of the two charges, to be served concurrently; if this recommendation is followed, he will receive a 37-month total sentence. All of Thurston's other charges will be dismissed at sentencing assuming he cooperates fully and completely with the government, including testifying against codefendants at trials.
Kevin Tubbs entered guilty pleas to 56 counts. Charges 9-43 of these are related to an arson at Romania Chevrolet, while charges 44-56 are related to attempted arson and arson at Jefferson Poplar. Tubbs faces a suggested sentence of 168 months imprisonment. All remaining charges against Tubbs, including those in Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, the Eastern District of California and the Western District of Washington are expected to be dismissed. The feds will argue that Tubbs was a leader of the conspiracy at his sentencing hearing. Tubbs appeared to be extremely shaken up throughout the entire plea hearings, but stated to the judge that he understood what was going on and was capable of making decisions. He, like the other 2 codefendants is under a mandatory duty to fully and completely cooperate with the feds at any time in order to receive the deal put forth in this change of plea proceeding.
Kendall Tankersley pled guilty to three counts—conspiracy, attempted arson and arson (the last two related to action against US Forest Industries). Tankersley received a suggested sentence of 51 months in prison. All her other charges will be dismissed.
Thurston, Tubbs and Tankersley are presently scheduled for formal sentencing on December 14, 2006.
As to these defendants, the federal government has agreed to recommend "downward departures" of the sentences due to their coerced cooperation (the exact terms of which are unknown), however, the government also announced that it will be seeking an upward enhancement to their sentences arguing that the federal anti-terrorism guidelines apply to their sentences as well. This enhancement could carry an additional penalty of up to 30 years of prison time. Defense attorneys are expected to argue against such an enhancement, and the final decision will be made by federal Judge Ann Aiken at sentencing.
Government informants Jake Ferguson and Jen Kolar were both mentioned by name today during the hearings and appear in the newly filed informations, though no further information was provided as to whether they will charged or punished for their substantial roles in these cases.
Tomorrow, July 21, Stan Meyerhoff will plead at 1:30pm; Chelsea Gerlach at 2pm and Suzanne Savoie at 2:30pm in the US District Court in Eugene.
More updates will be posted as we receive information. The new charging instruments can be viewed at www.cldc.org.