Trial Beginning In Tacoma In UW Eco-Arson Case

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — The trial is beginning Monday in federal court in Tacoma for a woman accused of acting as a lookout when a University of Washington building was set on fire.

The Earth Liberation Front claimed responsibility for the 2001 fire at the horticulture research center that caused about $7 million damage. The group mistakenly believed the center was genetically modifying trees.

Briana Waters is one of more than a dozen environmental and animal-rights activists arrested during an ecoterrorism investigation. She says she is innocent, and at the time of the fire was probably asleep in Olympia where she was a student at Evergreen State College.

If convicted of arson charges the 32-year-old from Berkeley, Calif., faces at least 35 years in prison.