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Animal rights activist strikes plea deal in SLC area fire

Prosecutors label 'Lone Wolf' a 'terrorist,' but he won't be cooperating with FBI
Ben Winslow
July 6, 2011

An animal rights activist has struck a plea deal with federal prosecutors, admitting to a pair of arson fires in the Salt Lake City area.

Walter Bond, 35, who went by the moniker "Lone Wolf," pleaded guilty to a pair of federal arson charges in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City on Wednesday. He admitted to torching the Tandy Leather Factory and the Tiburon Fine Dining restaurant last year.

Bond faces up to 20 years in federal prison when he is sentenced in September. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison for an arson fire at a sheepskin store in the Denver area in 2010. In court, Bond, covered in tattoos that said "Vegan" and espousing a Straight Edge lifestyle, spoke clearly and candidly with the judge. He admitted to setting the fires.

His attorney, Nathan Crane, said that he wanted to take responsibility. However, he said that Bond still wanted to get the word out about animal cruelty and the animal rights cause. John Huber, a prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney's Office for Utah, called Bond an "extremist" and noted that the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force has labeled animal rights extremists as domestic terrorists.

Prosecutors said they would seek some enhancements for the fires, but agreed in court that Bond's sentence for the two arson charges would not run back-to-back. Crane told Fox 13 that Bond's plea deal said he also would not cooperate with the FBI in any ongoing investigations into the activities of animal rights activists.

For his part, Bond purportedly wrote on a website set up in support of him that his fellow activists "should not be scared to be militant, or outspoken or an activist for the legal aboveground or clandestine underground."

"Still better, don't give in to state-sanctioned fear," he wrote on the website. "Once you do, you're being reactive and that's what they're counting on. Also, you are giving the security forces of animal exploitation too much power. power they don't deserve! Instead of concerning ourselves with how big and scary the FBI is or how ruthlessly they target activists, we should be concerned with flexing our own muscle and shutting down animal use and abuse wherever it occurs."

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