Three Protesters To Appeal Convictions

September 23, 1990|By Maria Archangelo | Maria Archangelo,Staff writer

GETTYSBURG, PA. - GETTYSBURG, Pa. -- Three Taneytown residents convicted of trespassing at a top-secret military installation during a peace vigil say they plan to appeal their convictions and have no intention of paying their fines.

"In good conscience, I could not pay a fine," Yvonne Small told Adams County Court of Common Pleas Judge Oscar F. Spicer, adding that she would be willing to go to jail or perform added community service instead.

Small, 45, her husband, James, 49, and Wayne Cogswell, 57, each were sentenced Wednesday to one year of probation, 40 hours of community service and a $700 fine.

Spicer refused to change the sentence and said that if Yvonne Small fails to pay the fine, a lien may be placed against her home or other property.

The Smalls and Cogswell were among seven arrested at a peace vigil in August 1989 at Site R, a military command center buried in Raven Rock Mountain just across the Pennsylvania border that would be used in the event of nuclear war.

The seven were charged with defiant trespass after they refused to move away from the entrance to the facility, also called the "underground Pentagon."

Group members, dubbed the "Site R Seven," could have received up to one year in prison and a $2,500 fine on the trespassing charge.

Their attorney, James H. Feldman Jr. of Philadelphia, said he would move to postpone execution of the sentences until after the group's appeal is heard.

He said the motion is routinely granted.

The seven said their act of civil disobedience was intended to protest the existence of Site R and to commemorate the atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.

While Cogswell and the Smalls were fined $700, the other members of the Site R Seven were ordered to pay $400 fines.

Spicer told the three Taneytown residents he was giving them a higher fine, because they "failed to cooperate" with the court by refusing to give financial information to the pre-sentence investigator.

Small, the director of the Peace Resource Center in Frederick, told Spicer she withheld the information because she thought giving it would split the group along economic lines.

Spicer said the financial information is needed to assess a defendant's ability to pay a fine.

But Small said that did not make sense, because one of those fined $400 has been unemployed since March, and another is a medical doctor in Baltimore.

Convicted of trespassing and fined $400 were Albert Donnay, 31, of Baltimore; Dr. Gwen Dubois, 39 of Baltimore; Lauralee Humphrey, 55, of Lutherville; and Charlene Knott, 41, of Timonium.

Yvonne and James Small were arrested a second time for trespassing at Site R during a protest on Aug. 5., along with Baltimore resident Richard Ochs. No trial date has been set in that case.

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