The Kings Bay Plowshares 7 Update and Next Steps

Photo: Martha Hennessy, Carmen Trotta, Clare Grady, Mark Colville, and Patrick O’Neill wait to enter the federal courthouse in Georgia.

November 6, 2019

Thank you for the tremendous outpouring of support for our dear friends and family members facing years in federal prison. The guilty verdict on October 24 was not a complete surprise as the court did not allow the expert witnesses. The jury in Brunswick, GA never heard from former National Security Council member, nuclear war planner, and whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, international law expert Francis Boyle, or theologian Jeannine Hill Fletcher.

Nonetheless, together the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 and all of their supporters have offered a profound witness for the world. There is more to do.

Fr. Steve Kelly, S.J. waits in the local jail for the sentencing date, likely in January. The six other defendants wait at their homes under curfew and travel restrictions. Reports on each of the four days of the trial are listed below. You can find many articles and interviews since the trial on our website.

According to supporters in Brunswick, there are lots of new conversations about Trident’s nuclear weapons since the trial! Thanks to all who traveled to Georgia. A couple of hundred supporters came and filled the regular courtroom, plus an overflow courtroom, while others held vigil outside each of the four trial days. We passed out hundreds of flyers to locals as they walked by the courthouse.

It was a week of community and the power of witness. Sunday’s Festival of Hope involved moving statements from each of the defendants, other speakers, and song. Every day we gathered for meals. Early in the week Plowshares activist Patrick O’Neill shared with us, “We’re not hoping for a hung jury. We aren’t here wanting to get an acquittal. At this trial, we want to speak truth to power.” Here is a video of the KBP7 activists and supporters as they came out singing from court following the verdict:


There is a lot you can do to spread the word of the Plowshares action and to multiply their efforts to abolish nuclear weapons.

1. Send Letters to the Editor to Your Local Newspapers

Inform your local community with letters and opinion columns on how Trident nuclear weapons relate to economic and racial injustice, the climate crisis, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and how the exclusion of expert witnesses affected the trial outcome. Click here to view four templates of letters you can modify, personalize, or submit as is.

2. Send a Letter of Recommendation to the Judge – Pending

The KBP7’s legal team is preparing templates of letters of recommendation supporters can use to write letters to Judge Lisa Godbey Wood for her to consider before sentencing. The letters would describe the defendants’ good character and be apolitical in nature. It’s very important that the letters be sent to our lawyers’ office only.  We will include our lawyers’ address with the template from the legal team when it arrives sometime in the next week. Watch for the email.

3. Donate

Thank to your donations, we have mobilized thousands of people around the world to speak out for the abolition of nuclear weapons. We have educated communities about the unprecedented dangers of the Trident II D5 missile system. We have supported our seven friends in their prophetic witness for life and peace. As you can see, our efforts are ongoing. Please help with expenses, housing, and supporting defendants’ families following the verdict and the upcoming sentencing.

  • Send checks to: Plowshares, PO Box 3087, Washington, DC 20010
  • Donate online: GoFundMe

4. Follow and Share Us on Social Media

Click the links below to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for our daily updates and then you can share them and expand the circle.

5. Send Liz McAlister Birthday Greetings!

Elizabeth McAlister’s 80th birthday is on November 17. Please keep her in thought and prayer in this time between trial and sentencing. If you would like to write to her or send her a card you can use whatever color ink you want! Liz’s current address is 30 Broad Street, New London, CT 06320.

6. Vigil at the Kings Bay Base

At the main gate every third Saturday.

7. Write Post Cards to Fr. Stephen Kelly

In Brunswick, at the county jail. Click the link for important instructions. For example, you must use his formal given name, Stephen Kelly.

8. Join Us for the Sentencing

It will be in Brunswick, probably in January. We will let you know as soon as we know.

9. Watch and Share the Gallery of Videos

The GA Festival of Hope, the tribunal, press conferences, and more!


by Ralph Hutchison

  1. Monday, October 21, 2019 – Jury selection began at 9 a.m. with nearly 80 prospective jurors filling the courtroom with media present. About 45 supporters were seated on metal folding chairs in a small overflow room watching on a 32-inch screen. Despite a few signal interruptions, we were able to follow most of the proceedings. By lunch break at 11:10 pm, the judge had finished the opening round of voir dire—it’s French, she said, for “speak truth”— and was ready to move into a private round in a sidebar with individual prospects who had identified potential conflicts and the lawyers for both sides, including the five defendants who are representing themselves (pro se) in the proceedings….(read more)  
  2. Tuesday, October 22, 2019 – “Welcome back,” said federal Judge Lisa Godbey Wood to the jury and the packed courtroom as we sat down. And in the same breath, she said, “Mr. Knoche, please call your first witness.” The prosecutor’s job, technically, was not that challenging. The defendants had already told the jury they had committed the acts of which they were accused. All that was left was to determine what kind of crime, if any, was committed by seven peace activists who performed a nonviolent, symbolic, religious action in pursuit of nuclear disarmament….( read more)
  3. Wednesday, October 23, 2019 – Day three of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 trial in federal court in Brunswick, Georgia, began with an objection raised by Stephanie Amiotte for the defense, which had been presented with a new piece of evidence minutes before the prosecution intended to put its witness on the stand. The judge disallowed the document but said the information could be presented in testimony. And with that, we were off. The final defense witness testified the damages exceeded thirty thousand dollars—fences fixed…. (read more)
  4. Day of the Verdict, Thursday, October 24, 2019 – Judge Lisa Godbey Wood came into the courtroom at 9:37 a.m. to review the charge sheets and jury instructions with the lawyers. Bill Quigley entered a few objections into the record, and by 10:10 the jury was brought into court.  Prosecutor Knoche presented the closing argument for the government…..(read more)

…And into plowshares turn their swords. Nations shall learn war no more!

Peace and blessings upon you,

The Kings Bay Plowshares 7 Support Team

EMAIL: Media: