A federal judge Thursday sentenced Animal Liberation Front arsonist Kevin Tubbs to prison for more than 12 years, rejecting arguments that...

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EUGENE, Ore. — A federal judge Thursday sentenced Animal Liberation Front arsonist Kevin Tubbs to prison for more than 12 years, rejecting arguments that he was a minor player just trying to save animals and protect the Earth.

U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken declared that four of the nine fires Tubbs was involved in — a forest-ranger station, a police substation, a dealership selling SUVs and a tree farm — were acts of terrorism intended to influence the conduct of the government or retaliate for government acts.

“Fear and intimidation can play no part in changing the hearts and minds of people in a democracy,” Aiken told Tubbs twice for emphasis before sentencing him to 12 years and seven months in federal prison.

Tubbs is the second of 10 members of The Family, a Eugene-based cell of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and Animal Liberation Front (ALF), to face sentencing in U.S. District Court after pleading guilty to conspiracy and arson charges connected to a string of 20 arsons in five states that did a total of $40 million in damage.

Tubbs and his fiancée, Michelle Pace, made emotional pleas for mercy, but Aiken rejected them, saying Tubbs was trying to minimize his responsibility. Aiken said it was “profoundly and palpably sad” that she had eight more people to sentence who wasted their lives by choosing violence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kirk Engdahl said Tubbs was not a leader but regularly picked targets, recruited others and built incendiary devices. When it came time to set the fires, he usually left that to others, serving as a lookout or driver, Engdahl said.

Acknowledging that it was no excuse, Tubbs said he was motivated by hopelessness and desperation over the cruelty to animals and destruction of the Earth he saw all around him.