William McCall Associated Press Writer
EUGENE, Ore. The man facing the longest sentence for arsons around the West by environmental activists may also be the first to be labeled a domestic terrorist. Stanislas Meyerhoff was involved in 21 criminal acts ranging from vandalism to arson and conspiracy to commit murder, according to federal prosecutors. He is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Eugene, the first of 10 convicted eco-saboteurs that will appear before U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken over the next three weeks. A government sentencing memo describes Meyerhoff, who turns 30 next month, as a “troubled and violent individual, and a career anarchist.” But a civil rights attorney familiar with the case says Meyerhoff got involved in environmental activism mainly to impress women. “He really was not an activist at all,” said Lauren Regan, executive director of the Civil Liberties Defense Center in Eugene. His motivation could be the key to whether Aiken decides to accept the government’s argument that Meyerhoff is a domestic terrorist and subject to tougher sentencing. Aiken ruled Monday that Meyerhoff and the other defendants could be designated terrorists, but that doesn’t mean she will give them that label. Aiken ruled that she would listen to arguments at each sentencing before deciding whether a “terrorism enhancement” may be applied to a particular defendant. Meyerhoff has already pleaded guilty to toppling a Bonneville Power Administration high-voltage transmission tower near Bend in 1999 and seven fire bombings including a ski resort in Vail, Colo., in 1998 that resulted in $40 million in damage. Prosecutors led by Assistant U. S. Attorney Stephen Peifer argued in their sentencing memo that those fires were intended to “intimidate or coerce” the government and, as a result, qualify Meyerhoff and his co-defendants for additional sentencing under the terrorism enhancement provision of federal law. Meyerhoff’s attorney, Terri Wood, argues in her sentencing memo that Meyerhoff and his codefendants took precautions to avoid any risk of human injury. The federal government has recommended that Meyerhoff be sentenced to 15 years and 8 months in prison. With the exception of Kevin Tubbs, facing 14 years, and Chelsea Dawn Gerlach, facing 10 years, the rest of the co-defendants face sentences ranging from less than eight years to just over three years.