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Wednesday, February 20 , 2019, 8:35 pm | Fair 48º


Final Four Members of ‘Vandenberg 15’ Arraigned, Plead Not Guilty to Trespassing

Two-day trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 17 for anti-war activists arrested in February while protesting nuclear weapons testing

The final four members of the “Vandenberg 15” were arraigned Thursday in federal court and pleaded not guilty to trespassing at Vandenberg Air Force Base while protesting nuclear weapons testing.

Fifteen protesters were arrested Feb. 25 while trespassing at Vandenberg as dozens gathered to voice their opposition to the test launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile, designed to carry nuclear warheads.

Those protesters crossed a line between the designated protest area and the base itself, and were subsequently arrested.

Eleven of them were arraigned in May, and the remaining four emerged from federal court on Thursday to speak to reporters.

One of those arraigned Thursday was Cindy Sheehan, an anti-war activist whose son was killed in the Iraq War.

Sheehan said they were just trying to deliver a message to the base commander when they were arrested. She said the group was never warned about crossing a line and were taken into custody.

She said she felt it was her “moral imperative to protest these acts” for her surviving children, and all the children of the world.

Friar Louis Vitale, Mark Kelso and Bradley Kapshaw were also arraigned Thursday.

A two-day trial is set for Oct. 17, where Sheehan said they’ll be mounting “a vigorous defense.”

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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