Tag Archives: justin solondz

Justin Solondz Pleads Guilty

21 Dec

UW Center of Urban Horticulture after May 2001 Fire

The man accused of building the firebomb used by Earth Liberation Front radicals to torch the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture in 2001 pleaded guilty this morning in U.S. District Court in Tacoma. Justin Solondz, 31, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and arson under a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, who agreed to recommend a seven-year prison sentence when Solondz is sentenced on March 16.

The man accused of building the firebomb used by Earth Liberation Front radicals to torch the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture in 2001 pleaded guilty this morning in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.

Justin Solondz, 31, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and arson under a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, who agreed to recommend a seven-year prison sentence when Solondz is sentenced on March 16.

A former student at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Solondz was arrested July 6 in Chicago after his expulsion from China, where he had been serving a prison term for selling drugs.

Solondz was a purported member of a cell of radical environmentalists known as “The Family” who are believed to have participated in a string of arsons and other sabotage that caused $80 million in damage in Washington, Oregon, California and Colorado. Prosecutors claimed that Solondz built a firebomb in a “clean room” behind a home in Olympia, transported it to Seattle and served as the getaway driver the night of the UW arson.

The firebomb was planted in the office of UW professor Toby Bradshaw at the Center for Urban Horticulture. Bradshaw was targeted because the arsonists believed, mistakenly, he was genetically engineering trees. [EF!J Ed. note: see correction below]

Damage from the arson was estimated at more than $6 million.

In June, Solondz’s former girlfriend, Briana Waters, pleaded guilty to charges of arson, conspiracy to use a destructive device, possessing an unregistered destructive device and the use of an explosive device in a crime of violence in connection with the arson. She agreed to testify against Solondz.

Two other women, Lacey Phillabaum and Jennifer Kolar, pleaded guilty to the UW arson and were sentenced to three and five years, respectively. [EF!J Ed. note: Kolar and Phillabaum also cooperated with the state by testifying against others arrested for  ELF actions. Further details about them and other are listed here.]

Also charged in the UW arson was William C. Rodgers, who committed suicide in an Arizona jail in December 2005.

Solondz was indicted in Washington state and California in 2006. The FBI issued a $50,000 reward in late 2008 for information leading to his arrest. At the time, the FBI said he might be in Canada, Europe or Asia.

He surfaced in Dali, a Chinese city popular with Western tourists, using a phony Canadian identification and an altered appearance. He was arrested in a drug investigation in March 2009 and was sentenced to three years in prison.

Article reposted from Seattle Times.

EF! Journal Editors’ note and correction: Bradshaw was indeed involved with genetic engineering of poplar trees at the time of the arson, which is plainly clear from the University of Washington website: “Toby Bradshaw, a research professor in the department of Botany, is just one of many UW professors using genetic modification in their research…” 

The Seattle Times article’s allegation that the “arsonists believed, mistakenly, he was genetically engineering trees” is an outright lie perpetuated by industry PR machines. The dispute was only a minor technical matter between the language of the ELF communique and the quote by Bradshaw himself—the ELF alleging that he was engineering trees for commercial release, Bradshaw claiming that his research would never leave the lab.

Meanwhile, the massive push by biotech lobbyists continues with the assistance of lackeys like Bradshow at their service, as does the battle to stop GE trees from spreading across the world (including the US.) Just ask groups like the Global Justice Ecology Project about AborGen.

Eco-prisoner Justin Solondz spends birthday behind bars this Monday

30 Sep

This Monday, October 3rd, marks the first birthday Justin Solondz will spend in a US prison. He is currently awaiting trial on allegations of involvement with ELF arsons in the Pacific Northwest. Justin was recently extradited to the US from a prison in China and is now facing the gauntlet of green scare informants, including ex-girlfriend Brianna Waters.

Send him a note today and let him know you’re thinking of him. Remember, do not talk about the case in your letter, as he has a trial pending. Pre-made cards or photocopied pictures are a safe bet (hand made cards risk rejection by prison officials.)

Justin Solondz #98291-011, FDC SeaTac, PO Box 13900, Seattle, Washington 98198

And while you have the pen and paper out, below are some other eco-prisoners and freedom fighters who also have birthdays in October. A political prisoner birthday list also comes out in the printed Earth First! Journal in time to send cards, but our print schedule is a bit off do to funding needs. So we wanted to be sure some people get this in time to drop a timely letter to these prisoners, as well:

Eric McDavid #16209-097, FCI Victorville, Medium II Federal Correctional Institution, PO Box 5300, Adelanto, CA 92301

Birthday: October 7th Eric McDavid was arrested and charged with “Conspiracy to damage and destroy property by fire and an explosive.” His arrest was the direct result of a government informant—known only as “Anna”—who spent a year and a half drawing him in and working with the FBI to fabricate a crime and implicate Eric in it. Eric was imprisoned for what amounts to thought-crime – no actions were ever carried out. supporteric.org

Michael Davis Africa #AM4973, SCI Graterford, PO Box 244, Graterford, PA 19426-0244

Birthday: October 6, 1955 

Edward Goodman Africa #AM4974, SCI Mahoney, 301 Morea Road, Frackville, PA 17932

Birthday: October 21, 1949  Michael Davis Africa and Edward Goodman Africa are two of the people who make up the MOVE 9. There are currently eight MOVE activists in prison each serving 100 years after been framed for the murder of a cop in 1979. The 9th defendant, Merle Africa, died in prison in 1998. MOVE is an eco-revolutionary group dedicated to liberation struggles. www.onamove.com

Herman Wallace #76759, Elaine Hunt Correctional Center Unit 5 E-Tier, PO Box 174, St Gabriel, LA 70776

Birthday: October 13, 1941 Wallace and two others began a prison chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1971.The men then organized prisoners to build a movement within the walls to desegregate the prison, to end systematic rape and violence, for better living conditions, and worked as jailhouse lawyers helping prisoners file legal papers. They organized multiple strikes and sit-ins for better conditions.  Angola3.org

Lynne Stewart, #53504-054, FMC Carswell Federal Medical Center, PO Box 27137 Fort Worth, TX 76127

Birthday: October 8th Veteran New York criminal defense attorney Lynne Stewart was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the crime of defending a terrorist too vigorously in court. She was convicted of “providing material support to the Gama’a Islamiya”, which was on the Bush administration’s list of terrorist organizations. “Whatever I did, I did as a lawyer. It’s nothing different than I have done for 20 years.” lynnestewart.org

Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin #99974-555, USP Florence ADMAX P.O. Box 8500, Florence, CO 81226

Birthday: October 4, 1943 Also known as H. Rap Brown, came to prominence in the 1960s as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Justice Minister of the Black Panther Party. imamjamil.com

David Gilbert #83-A-6158, Auburn Correctional Facility, PO Box 618, Auburn NY 13021

Birthday: October 6, 1944 David Gilbert was a founding member of Columbia University SDS and a member of the Weather Underground. After about ten years underground, he was arrested in October 1981, along with members of the Black Liberation Army and other radicals.

Robert Seth Hayes #74-A-2280, Sullivan Correctional Facility, 325 Riverside Drive, PO Box 116, Fallsberg, NY 12733-0116

Birthday: October 15, 1948 Robert ‘Seth’ Hayes is one of the longest-held political prisoners in the USA. Seth was imprisoned due to his activity in the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army, a fighting formation which grew out of the Black liberation movement of the 1960’s. www.sethhayes.org

Justin Solondz’s Address Released

15 Jul

From NYC Anarchist Black Cross

FBI mug shot of Justin Solondz

According to federal authorities, Mr. Solondz made incendiary devices that destroyed a horticulture center at the University of Washington in Seattle in May 2001. Prosecutors also accuse him of burning down buildings and vehicles in Oregon that same day, and will attempt to link him to a later arson attack in California.

On the lam, Justin was eventually arrested in China in March 2009, when the Chinese police arrested him in the mountains of Yunnan Province after he was caught with drugs and fake Canadian identification. About a month later, he was tried and sentenced to three years in prison. Within the last month or so, Justin was released from prison in China and deported to the United States, where he was immediately arrested and taken into federal custody.

Please keep in mind that Justin is pre-trial and that the crimes with which is charged are all mere allegations. Write a letter to Justin at:

Justin Solondz #98291-011

MCC Chicago

71 West Van Buren Street

Chicago, Illinois 60605

For tips on letterwriting, check out this site: prisonerlife.com

UPDATE: the above address has changed. Find a more current address by clicking here

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