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Tax Day trespassing case ends in hung jury

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By Carol A. Clark

What started as a 24-hour prayer vigil in front of Los Alamos National Laboratory ended with two men praying through the night in a jail cell at the Los Alamos Detention Facility.

The men were part of a small group praying and protesting April 14 against tax money used to build nuclear weapons.

Trinity Nuclear Abolitionists members Marcus Patrick Blaise Page, 41, of Albuquerque and Michael Butler, 21, of Gallup were arrested about 9:30 p.m. and charged with criminal trespassing.

They refused to leave DOE property around Los Alamos Fire Department Station 1 and the Los Alamos Research Park on West Jemez Road, according to court documents.

Criminal trespassing carries a $1,000 fine and or up to 364 days in prison. Butler accepted a plea bargain in which he pleaded no contest and will serve 30 days of unsupervised probation. Page declined, choosing to stand trial in Magistrate Court.

On Monday, a Los Alamos jury of six could not come to consensus on the case after some three hours of testimony and four hours of deliberation.

Los Alamos Police Sgt. Jason Wardlow represented the State of New Mexico against Page who acted in his own defense.