WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — Sister Dede Byrne, POSC, friend of the defendants in the D.C. FACE Act trials and herself an outspoken witness for life, offered her support for the pro-life rescuers who today were immediately incarcerated after conviction on charges of “conspiracy against rights” and violating the infamous pro-abortion legislation called the FACE Act, passed by former President Bill Clinton to assure women access to abortion clinics at a time when pro-life Operation Rescue had seen numerous abortion centers shut down throughout the country.
The conviction included special findings of “use of force” and “physical obstruction,” resulting in defendants and pro-life heroes Joan Andrews Bell, 74; Jonathan Darnel, 40; and Jean Marshall, 72, being found guilty of a “crime of violence” and immediately arrested.
In a statement to LifeSiteNews, Sr. Dede wrote,
I always believed that our judiciary system was set to say, ‘You are innocent till proven guilty.’ But what I have witnessed the last several weeks with Will Goodman, Lauren Handy, John Hinshaw, Heather Idoni, and Rosemary Geraghty, and now Joan Bell, Jean Marshall, and Jonathan Darnel is a total farce.
I also thought in our judiciary system that part of presenting one’s case is to express the “why” of your action. But what I have witnessed is none of these things.
First of all, the judge is clearly on the side of the DA attorney. The defense is not allowed to express why they went into a DC 3rd trimester abortionist, (Cesare) Santangelo, who also has been proven to allow babies aborted alive to die in his “clinic,” seen by the video by Live Action. They were not allowed to show this critical video.
In the first trial, the judge would not allow the pictures of the five babies found in the abortionist’s clinic because it was after the rescue. But what about baby Philomena Grace’s induced abortion November 27, 2019? She was found totally intact in a restaurant toilet and determined to be from Santangelo’s treacherous evil doing.
All the rescuers knew of this heinous crime, because of the Live Action Video and induced abortion of Philomena Grace. So our dear pro-life heroes above risk 11 years in federal prison without justice.
My dear friends, this case is so very critical, not only because innocent people are being unjustly tried in a kangaroo court, but also it is clear to see that our religious freedom is at risk here and our first amendment rights.
We have eight pro-life heroes standing to protect innocent life, while two miles down the road, Santangelo has a free pass to kill innocent life. God help us. The trial ends today, let us stay united in prayer for all the unborn who have no voice (Joan Bell’s words) and for those risking their livelihood to end this atrocity.
United in prayer, Sr Dede Byrne, POSC
The conviction of Bell, Darnel, and Marshall came after closing arguments in the trial heated up Thursday afternoon when in the middle of defense statements a legal fight over evidence broke out between the defense counsel and the prosecution, requiring the judge to withdraw the jury and consult procedural law for fear of the issue being sent to the appellate court.
On October 30, the defense will submit its briefings on any motions for appeal, with the prosecution scheduled to respond by November 13 and the defense set to make a final response on November 27. Sentencing would follow some time after these briefings. When sentenced, the activists could face more than a decade each in prison.
The new trial followed closely on the heels of an earlier one in which five other anti-abortion activists – Lauren Handy, 29; John Hinshaw, 67; William Goodman, 52; Heather Idoni, 61; and Herb (Rosemary) Geraghty, 25, were charged and found guilty in connection to their involvement in the same rescue.
As LifeSiteNews previously reported, on August 29, all five activists in the first trial were found guilty and immediately incarcerated ahead of sentencing because their actions to physically block the abortuary were considered a “crime of violence.” The Thomas More Society has attempted to appeal the decision on behalf of Handy.