Bond reduced for Gulf Coast pipeline protesters

EAST TEXAS (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - Bond amounts for two pipeline protestors were reduced by more than half during a bond-reduction hearing Wednesday.

Three protesters, 25-year-old Glen Collins, 21-year-old Matt Almonte and Isabel Brooks, 20, were jailed on $65,000 bond for three misdemeanor charges on Dec. 3.

The activists set canisters of concrete weighing several hundred pounds inside the pipe and were grasping onto them as deputies extracted them.

Their bonds included $15,000 for criminal trespass, $25,000 for resisting arrest and $25,000 for illegal dumping, more than 500 pounds but less than 1,000 pounds.

Criminal trespass is a Class B misdemeanor, which carries up to a $2,000 fine and 180 days in jail. The other two charges are Class A misdemeanors and carry up to $4,000 and a year in jail.

Glen Collins bonded out Saturday, Tar Sands Blockade spokesman Ron Seifert said.

Seifert told the Tyler Morning Telegraph the group would attempt to cover the reduced bonds. He said the group was hoping the court would be more accommodating because the activists had spent almost a month in jail.

County Court at Law No. 3 Floyd Getz set conditions with the bond reduction. He said he had "serious concerns" Miss Brooks and Almonte, who do not have ties to Smith County and no established permanent residence, could be flight risks.

Judge Getz set Almonte's bond at $20,000 and Miss Brooks at $30,000.

The two are ordered to remain in Nacogdoches County and submit to weekly drug tests.

Attorney Wes Volberding represented the activists and said the protesters want their day in court. He said their acts of civil disobedience against the Gulf Coast Pipeline Project were on behalf of the health and safety of the community.

Volberding argued Almonte and Miss. Brooks did not pose a threat to the public or have intentions to skirt a future court date.

He said the bond amounts are not consistent with other amounts levied against protestors in surrounding Texas counties. He said he believes a jury would be empathetic to the protestor's actions.

"I don't see this as a case where (a jury or court) would throw the book at sincere young people when they are trying to protect the community," he said.


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