State drops charges against rest of "Suwannee 6"

Published: Apr. 4, 2017 at 7:33 PM EDT
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By: Julie Montanaro

April 20, 2017

Trespassing charges against three pipeline protesters have now been dropped, their attorney says.

The three were among those arrested during a Sabal Trail pipeline protest in Suwannee County earlier this year.

Abigail Mills, Christopher Bermudez and Michael Tintner were scheduled to stand trial on misdemeanor charges on Monday.

Defense attorney Steven Glazer says the prosecutor dismissed the charges earlier this week "in the interest of judicial economy."

By: Julie Montanaro

April 4, 2017

Two women arrested during a mass protest of the Sabal Trail Pipeline in Suwannee County faced a judge Tuesday.

Alexa Oropesa and Kathleen Hernandez both plead guilty to misdemeanor charges of trespassing and resisting arrest.

They were sentenced to a year on probation and more than 100 hours of community service.

The two women were arrested in January 2017 after chaining themselves to a tanker to try to stop construction of the pipeline.

Three other protesters told the judge Tuesday they are ready to stand trial later this month.

Abigail Mills is one of them. She is charged with trespassing.

"It's our freedom of speech. It's our freedom of using our voice. It's our freedom to be outside," Mills said. "I was sitting next to the side of a public road and was arrested. They say ... you're allowed to protest, but you can't break the law and I was there just exercising my first amendment right."

Mills, Christopher Bermudez and Michael Tintner are set to stand trial on misdemeanor trespassing charges the week of April 24th.

A total of eight protesters were arrested during the three day protest.

One protester entered a pre-trial intervention program in hopes of getting her charges dropped, and charges are still pending against two others.