Zachary Jenson, one of three people convicted in an eco-terror plot targeting a genetics forest lab in Placerville and the Nimbus Dam and nearby fish hatchery in Rancho Cordova, was sentenced Thursday to the six months in jail he has already served and three years on supervised release.
U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. noted the stark contrast with the 19 years and seven months in prison he doled out to the plot's nominal leader, Eric McDavid. But, the judge decided, the disparity is justified by several factors demonstrating Jenson is far less culpable and has built a responsible and productive life while awaiting sentencing.
When the matter was adjourned, the small, thin, baby-faced and bespectacled Jenson turned away from the bench with a sigh of relief and was met with a hug from his mother.
McDavid, 31, was convicted by a jury in September 2007 of conspiring to burn or blow up a federal facility to protest environmental degradation.
Jenson and a third conspirator, Lauren Weiner, both 23, earlier were allowed to plead guilty to lesser charges – conspiring on behalf of the Earth Liberation Front to engage in direct action as a form of environmental protest – that carry a five-year maximum sentence. In a bid for leniency, they served as government witnesses at McDavid's trial.