WBEZ | arson http://www.wbez.org/tags/arson Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Charged with terrorism, NATO protesters plead not guilty http://www.wbez.org/news/charged-terrorism-nato-protesters-plead-not-guilty-100563 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/NATO5bannerCROPSCALE.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 244px; width: 300px; " title="Occupy Chicago protests Monday at the courthouse. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" /><em>Updated July 2 at 3:58 p.m.</em></p><p>Three NATO protesters who face charges under Illinois&rsquo;s terrorism statute pleaded not guilty Monday in a hearing that kicked off what could turn into months of pretrial wrangling over evidence discovery.</p><p>The defendants &mdash; Brian Church, 20, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Brent Betterly, 24, of Oakland Park, Fla.; and Jared Chase, 27, of Keene, N.H. &mdash; each face 11 felony counts ranging from material support for terrorism to arson conspiracy. Cook County prosecutors say they plotted to use crude firebombs known as Molotov cocktails during a NATO summit in Chicago.</p><p>On Monday the trio appeared in yellow jail jumpsuits and leg shackles before Criminal Court Judge Thaddeus L. Wilson.</p><p>After the pleas, Assistant State&rsquo;s Attorney Matthew Thrun told Wilson that prosecutors had handed defense attorneys 372 pages of discovery materials. Thrun said those included documentation of secret recordings authorized by another Cook County judge May 4 &mdash; less than two weeks before the trio&rsquo;s May 16 arrests during a police raid of an apartment in Chicago&rsquo;s Bridgeport neighborhood.</p><p>Thomas Durkin, a lawyer for Chase, complained to Wilson that the materials seemed to address evidence no earlier than May. The case&rsquo;s indictment, Durkin pointed out, accuses the trio of committing the terrorism and arson offenses beginning &ldquo;on or about October 01, 2011.&rdquo;</p><p>Thrun responded that &ldquo;discovery is not complete at this time.&rdquo;</p><p>After the hearing, defense attorneys said their pretrial goals include learning more about the case&rsquo;s informants. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s going to be a lot of fighting around the discovery of this case because we know that there were other law-enforcement agencies involved in the investigation and the provocateurs,&rdquo; said Michael Deutsch, an attorney for Church. &ldquo;And that&rsquo;s the tension because we need to fight about all these things that we have a right to have in discovery yet, while we do that, our clients are going to be sitting in jail.&rdquo;</p><p>Deutsch said defense attorneys would meet with prosecutors to see if they could reach an agreement to reduce $1.5 million bonds set for each defendant May 19.</p><p>At one point during Monday&#39;s hearing Betterly smiled and nodded to two dozen supporters in the courtroom gallery as they stood and raised their fists in the air &mdash; a gesture that ended seconds later when a sheriff&rsquo;s deputy ordered everyone to sit down.</p><p>Later, a man who identified himself as an Occupy Chicago activist held up a handmade sign expressing support for the trio. A deputy quickly grabbed the activist and brought him to Wilson.</p><p>&ldquo;I absolutely will not tolerate that,&rdquo; Wilson warned. &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t bring any signs in my courtroom again.&rdquo;</p><p>Another NATO protester &mdash; Sebastian Senakiewicz, 24, of Chicago &mdash; faces four counts of falsely making a terrorist threat. A fifth protester &mdash; Mark Neiweem, 28, of Chicago &mdash; faces two counts related to explosives or incendiary devices. Arraignments for Senakiewicz and Neiweem were scheduled for Monday but postponed.</p><p>All five defendants were arrested before the summit, a two-day gathering that ended May 21.</p></p> Mon, 02 Jul 2012 05:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/charged-terrorism-nato-protesters-plead-not-guilty-100563 Indictments slap NATO protesters with 11 counts http://www.wbez.org/news/indictments-slap-nato-protesters-11-counts-100275 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AlvarezAndMcCarthy3croppedscaled.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 209px; " title="State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, flanked by Chicago police Supt. Garry McCarthy, last month said the men came to Chicago to harm cops and intimidate residents. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" /></p><div>Cook County grand jury indictments have slapped three out-of-town protesters with 11 felony counts and a Chicago protester with 4 felony counts for allegedly plotting or threatening terrorist attacks during last month&rsquo;s NATO summit.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The counts against Brian Church, 20, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Brent Betterly, 24, of Oakland Park, Fla., and Jared Chase, 27, of Keene, N.H., include material support for terrorism, terrorism conspiracy, arson conspiracy, arson solicitation and attempted arson. The three men also face two counts of unlawful use of a weapon and four counts of possession of an incendiary device.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Chicago resident, Sebastian Senakiewicz, 24, faces four counts of falsely making a terrorist threat.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Prosecutors in the highly publicized cases did not share the indictments with the defendants or news reporters but quietly filed them June 13 with the Clerk of the Circuit Court, where defense attorneys discovered them this week. The indictments provide no information about evidence.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;They&rsquo;re playing hide the ball,&rdquo; said Michael Deutsch, one of Church&rsquo;s lawyers. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s part of their strategy to keep the information as long as possible away from the defense to prevent the defense from beginning to prepare.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez&rsquo;s office did not return messages about the cases Wednesday. In a news conference last month, she called Church, Betterly and Chase &ldquo;domestic terrorists who came to Chicago with an anarchist agenda to harm our police officers, intimidate our citizens and to attack their politically motivated targets.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The prosecutions mark the county&rsquo;s first use of an Illinois terrorism statute enacted shortly after the al Qaeda attacks of September 11.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Defense attorneys call the cases sensationalized efforts to justify security spending for the NATO summit, a two-day Chicago gathering that ended May 21. They say the investigations relied on a pair of infiltrators who manufactured the alleged crimes.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Judges ordered Church, Betterly and Chase held on $1.5 million bonds and Senakiewicz on a $750,000 bond.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Attorneys for all four men said Wednesday they intend to enter not-guilty pleas.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A fifth protester, Mark Neiweem, 28, of Chicago, was charged with solicitation for explosives or incendiary devices and ordered held on a $500,000 bond.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Arraignments of the five are expected July 2.</div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 20 Jun 2012 14:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/indictments-slap-nato-protesters-11-counts-100275