BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) – A 71-year-old Roman Catholic priest has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for breaking into a Navy submarine base in Georgia with a group protesting nuclear weapons.
A U.S. District Court judge sentenced the Rev. Stephen Michael Kelly on Wednesday. A year ago, Kelly and six fellow activists were convicted by a jury of trespassing, destruction of government property and other charges stemming from their arrest at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base.
The activists in 2018 took videos of themselves using wire cutters to enter a locked security gate at Kings Bay, the East Coast hub for Navy submarines armed with nuclear missiles. Inside the base, they spray-painted anti-nuclear messages and hammered on an outdoor display.
Defense attorneys had argued in pretrial hearings that the activists shouldn’t be prosecuted because they acted on sincere religious beliefs. Judge Lisa Godbey Wood ruled they couldn’t use that defense at trial.
Federal prosecutors said in a