EUGENE, Ore. – A New York man was sentenced Monday to seven years in prison for his part in arsons claimed by the radical Earth Liberation Front.
Daniel McGowan was among 10 people who have pleaded guilty for their parts in 20 arsons from 1996 through 2001 that caused $40 million in damage. Responsibility was claimed by a Eugene-based cell of the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front called The Family. Nine people have been sentenced so far.
McGowan pleaded guilty to conspiracy and arson in fires set at a lumber company office in January 2001, and at a tree farm in May 2001. He was also ordered to pay his share of $1.9 million in restitution.
Judge Ann Aiken told McGowan, the son of a New York City transit police officer, that he was a coward for donning a mask and setting fires to scare people rather than working positively to protect the environment.
Aiken said she doubted his remorse when a Web site raising money for his legal defense carried nothing from him denouncing his crimes.
"You are not a poster child for the environment," Aiken said. "You are an arsonist."
Judge Aiken declared the tree farm fire terrorism because a communique issued afterward referred to potential legislation to curb radicals. She cut one year from the eight-year sentence recommended by prosecutors in recognition of McGowan's help getting other defendants to plead guilty.