Portland -- An environmental activist was sentenced Thursday to more than three years in prison after pleading guilty to firebombing logging trucks and equipment at two Oregon companies in the spring of 2001. Jacob Sherman told Judge James Redden that he was "ashamed" of participating in the bombings. He has been linked to the Earth Liberation Front, a loose group of activists that the FBI has classified as an eco-terrorist group. "There has not been a single day since (that) I have not thought about and regretted the role I played in those events," Sherman wrote in a letter to the judge earlier this month.
The crimes carry maximum sentences of about 40 years. Three other people -- including well-known protester and fugitive Michael Scarpitti, better known as Tre Arrow -- face charges in connection with the logging-company fires, which caused $50,000 in damage at Ray A. Schoppert Logging of Estacada, and $210,000 in damage to trucks at Ross Island Sand & Gravel.
Sherman "immediately began to cooperate" with investigators after his arrest, according to court documents, and pointed investigators toward others involved in the bombings. Court documents filed by Sherman's attorney identify Arrow as "the leader and instigator" of the arsons.
Arrow "groomed" Sherman, the documents claim, slowly introducing him to radical protesting. As a student at Portland State University, Sherman stopped bathing, stopped wearing shoes and began eating a strict vegan diet to imitate Arrow.
In his letter to the judge, Sherman mentioned heavy peer pressure and said his beliefs were blurred. "I had some distorted vision that the arsons would stop damage to the environment," he wrote. "I got caught up in schemes to burn down trucks." Arrow, a former congressional candidate, has been on the run since last year.