Thank you all for your support in any form over the past 2 years, without it I would not have been able to endure this. It has been an exhausting and dragged out ordeal that came to an end today in Court. I pleaded No Contest (Nolo-Contendere) to 1 count of Criminal Mischief and 1 count of Trespassing for the incident that occurred on August 22, 2011.
There were numerous factors involved in my decision to plead No Contest and not proceed to trial. The foremost was the likelihood of losing a trial in Monroe County where most people are not sympathetic to animal issues. The jury would have consisted of only 6 jurors, and there was a risk of alleged affiliation to the ALF coming out, although that’s not allowed in Court, the State has not been playing by the book nor have the witnesses been forthright in their testimony in this case. Robert Lingenfelser was prepared to take the stand and unequivocally identify me as one of the individuals removing the fence at 2am on that August night. While there was no physical or forensic evidence, his statement could be enough for a jury in that County to find me guilty. The State came with a Plea Offer late last week of no jail time and they would drop the second trespassing charge where Sgt. Javier Ortiz alleges he sees me dismantling the fence in broad daylight on September 10, 2011. They also said there would be no restitution to the Marine Mammal Conservancy.
Both Robert Lingenfelser and Sgt. Javier Ortiz were present in Court today. Both had nothing to say. The Judge honored the Plea Agreement, the details are:
12 months probation (criminal mischief) and 6 months probation (trespassing) to run concurrent. Pay the State of Florida a $500 fine, pay court/prosecution costs of $323, and stay away from the Marine Mammal Conservancy.
I want to thank those who were personally involved in the legal aspects of my case at one point or another. Those people are Rick Wunsch, David Tenenbaum, Lauren Reagan, Belinda Morris, and Patricia Cady. I’m grateful for all of your help. Also a big thanks to those who through media express our/their concern for the animals and activists in general, great people like Will Potter, David Brensilver, Peter Young and Dr. Steve Best. And again thanks to all of my friends who supported me throughout this entire ordeal.
Sadly pilot whale R300 died at SeaWorld Orlando around August 27, 2013. R301 (the baby) is still alive and is forced to perform daily at SeaWorld Orlando, her new name is Freddie.