BRUNSWICK, GA: A North Carolina man convicted of the April 2018 illegal entry and vandalism of Submarine Base Kings Bay has been sentenced to federal prison.
Patrick O’Neill, 63, of Garner, N.C., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood to 14 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $33,503.51 in restitution, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. O’Neill, along with six other defendants, was found guilty after a four-day jury trial in October 2019 on charges of Conspiracy, Destruction of Property on a Naval Installation, Depredation of Government Property, and Trespass. He was ordered to serve three years of supervised release after completion of his prison sentence.
There is no parole in the federal system.
“Patrick O’Neill willingly broke into and vandalized a restricted military installation, and brazenly filmed himself and others doing so,” said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. “None of this group’s actions is defensible as peaceful protest, and in fact represents wanton destruction of government property and callous disregard for their safety and the safety of all the personnel at Kings Bay.”
As admitted by the defendants during the trial, including O’Neill’s body-worn camera video recording of the activities shown to jurors, the seven entered an outer security fence at the naval installation in St. Marys, Ga., after cutting a padlock from a gate during the late hours of April 4, 2018. Once through the security fence, the trespassers split into two groups and then damaged and vandalized property inside the facility before being taken into custody by naval security personnel.
O’Neill, a freelance journalist, has a long history of arrests including those related to trespassing and damaging government property.
Stephen Michael Kelly, 71, of Massachusetts, previously was sentenced to 33 months in prison in the case, and Elizabeth McAlister, 80, of New London, Conn., was sentenced to the 17 months, nine days of time already served in the case. The remaining defendants – Mark Peter Colville, 59, of New Haven, Conn.; Clare Therese Grady, 62, of Ithaca, N.Y.; Martha Hennessy, 65, of Perkinsville, Vt.; and Carmen Trotta, 57, of New York, N.Y. – are scheduled for sentencing in November.
The case was prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karl Knoche, E. Greg Gilluly Jr. and Channell Singh, with assistance from Litigation Technologist Dean Athanasopoulos. Special Agents Thomas Kenney and Barry Clinedinst led the investigation for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.