Two men who took part in the armed occupation of a U.S. wildlife refuge in Oregon last year were found guilty of conspiracy on Friday by a federal jury, in a split verdict that also saw two other men win acquittals on the same charge, local media reported.
Jason Patrick of Georgia and Darryl Thorn of Washington state were found guilty of conspiring to prevent federal workers from doing their jobs at the refuge, while Duane Ehmer of Oregon and Jake Ryan of Montana were acquitted of conspiracy in U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon, according to the Oregonian newspaper.
Last October, another trial over the 41-day standoff ended with the acquittal of anti-government activist Ammon Bundy and six of his followers, who cast their protest as a patriotic act of civil disobedience in opposition to U.S. government control over millions of acres of public lands in the West.
Ehmer and Ryan did not win complete acquittals on Friday. Both were found guilty of depredation of government property for using an excavator to dig trenches at the refuge during last year’s occupation of the site, the newspaper reported.
The jury of seven women and five men deliberated for three days, also finding Thorn guilty of possessing a firearm in a federal facility, but the panel acquitted Patrick and Ryan of that charge, according to the Oregonian.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Andrew Hay)