CHICAGO (STMW) -- An animal-rights activist who helped release 2,000 minks and vandalize an Illinois fur farm has been sentenced to three years in federal prison — but already has been locked up for nearly that long.
Kevin Johnson and Tyler Lang admitted to vandalizing a Morris fur farm Aug. 13, 2013 by spray-painting the words "Liberation is Love" on the side of a barn, pouring caustic substances on two farm vehicles and releasing 2,000 minks from their cages. The farmers recovered 1,600, but the animals lost their re-sale value. The remaining minks died or were never recovered.
U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve sentenced Johnson on Monday to 36 months in prison. He has already been behind bars in state and federal jail for 30 months.
When police stopped the pair's car 90 miles away in Woodford County, on their way to a fox farm, prosecutors said they were caught with books titled, "Thinking Like a Terrorist," "Unconventional Warfare Devices and Techniques: Incendiaries" and "Shadowing and Surveillance." The feds said the men also had five bottles of muriatic acid, two bottles of bleach and one container of hydrogen peroxide — necessary components for a bomb.
Johnson had handwritten notes in his pockets that read in part, "So many warrants I'm bored of ducking police vehicles. The devil told me that I'm fundamentally evil. I get my protein when I hunt and eat people. Sicker than a vivisector stuck with a diseased needle with a hundred and three fever, who falls to his knees bleeding. My only vegan recipes start with gasoline and diesel."
Johnson, also known as Kevin Olliff, has been involved in numerous animal rights campaigns since the mid-2000s, according to the website supportkevinandtyler.com. Prosecutors have called him a "zealous advocate for the protection of animals' rights" with "noble" ideas, but an "unrelenting commitment to using unlawful tactics." They sought to put him away for nearly four years, arguing his actions undermine lawful activists.
"(Johnson) has stalked, stolen, harassed, and threatened to make his point," Assistant U.S. Attorney Bethany Biesenthal wrote in a court filing.
The August 2013 vandalism closed the Morris fur farm, Biesenthal wrote. The farmers lost their sole source of income and money they had saved for retirement.
"While they knew their chosen profession was unpopular and subject to controversy, they had a legal right to breed mink," Biesenthal wrote.
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