Charges Dismissed for Four Hancock Protesters at Pretrial Hearing

photo by Maurice Morales

photo by Maurice Morales

from Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars

This afternoon in the DeWitt, NY Town Court, after hearing about 90 minutes of motions, Judge Robert Jokl dismissed all charges against four defendants charged following protests at Hancock Air National Guard Base “in the interest of justice.”

Attorneys Jonathan Wallace, Kathy Manley and Kim Zimmer presented motions on behalf of John Honeck of Hamlin, NY, Julienne Oldfield of Syracuse, NY, Andrew Schoerke of Shaftsbury, Vermont and Mary Snyder of Vestal, NY, who were charged with trespass, two counts of disorderly conduct, and obstruction of government administration, a misdemeanor.

The four defendants were among 31 arrested in a nonviolent die-in at the front gate of Hancock Base on April 28, 2013 following a weekend drone conference in Syracuse. Seventy-nine-year-old Jack Gilroy, who was charged in the same protest, served three months in jail following a jury trial last summer.

Other protesters will be tried on charges stemming from this same event in late April, May and June. This dismissal follows the March 19 “Big Books” action at Hancock’s main gate in which seven protesters were arrested with similar charges. They will be arraigned in late April.

Hancock Air National Guard Base is the home of the 174th Attack Wing. It is the regional center for training Reaper drone pilots and maintenance personnel. Hancock pilots fly Reaper drones over Afghanistan and other international targets.