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1st Malheur Occupier Sentenced To Probation


Coloradan Scott Willingham left the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge just before the FBI checkpoints were established on Jan. 27.

Coloradan Scott Willingham left the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge just before the FBI checkpoints were established on Jan. 27.

Amelia Templeton/OPB

U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown issued the first sentence against an occupier of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Friday.

Scott Willingham will not have to serve his sentence of six months in prison because of the 190 days he has already served, but Brown ordered an additional two years of supervised release. Brown also required Willingham to pay fines to the federal government for stealing FBI cameras from the refuge in January.

Willingham was not one of the defendants charged with conspiracy for the 41-day occupation, but participated in the refuge occupation with Ammon Bundy and other leaders in January.

The sentence comes after Willingham pleaded guilty in April to theft of government property as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors. Willingham agreed not to contact defendants in the ongoing trial of Bundy and six other occupiers as part of his plea deal, but his lawyer emphasized that Willingham was not a government informant and did not testify against the Bundys.

Willingham made headlines when he turned himself in to Grant County police in March. At that time, he threatened to shoot federal law enforcement officers if he was not jailed within a day.

Brown said in court Friday Willingham looked like a new person.

In a court statement, Willingham said he turned himself and pleaded guilty because “I wanted to come forward and be accountable for my actions because I had intentionally and knowingly done things I knew to be wrong. I want to put my actions behind me and move on.”

Willingham described himself to the Oregonian as an unemployed musician from Colorado. His lawyer says he is now “absolutely destitute” and will stay in Portland until he can get back on his feet.

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