Man, woman who en­tered nu­clear plant prop­erty en­ter pleas

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS -

YORK, PA. >> A Vir­ginia man and woman who got lost in Penn­syl­va­nia and en­tered the prop­erty of a nu­clear plant by cut­ting a chain at a gate have pleaded guilty to some charges in ex­change for no ad­di­tional time in jail.

Ti­mothy Ste­wart, 29, and Je­nilee Simp­son, 33, both of Ch­e­sa­peake, Vir­ginia, en­tered the pleas Tues­day in York County Court.

Authorities said they were driv­ing from Bal­ti­more to New York on May 27 and ap­par­ently cut the chain at Peach Bot­tom Atomic Power Sta­tion while try­ing to get back on the right road.

Ste­wart told the court that he was lost and had not got­ten a lot of sleep, and his car con­tained bolt cut­ters be­cause he was “go­ing to use them to work at a car­ni­val,” the York Daily Record re­ported.

“It was just a stupid de­ci­sion to play around with bolt cut­ters,” he said, later telling the judge that al­co­hol and drugs were not in­volved.

Com­mon Pleas Judge Michael Bort­ner asked a ques­tion to clar­ify that Ste­wart was not there to steal ura­nium or some­thing else, and Ste­wart replied, “No, sir.”

Simp­son, mean­while, said she was sound asleep, and that her boyfriend had got­ten lost. “I didn’t even know that was a power plant,” she said.

A spokes­woman for Ex­elon, which owns Peach Bot­tom, said ear­lier the two never posed a threat and were be­ing mon­i­tored by se­cu­rity all the time they were on plant prop­erty.

Ste­wart pleaded guilty to de­fi­ant tres­pass, driv­ing with a sus­pended or re­voked li­cense and pos­ses­sion of in­stru­ments of a crime. He was sen­tenced to 136 days to 23 months and fined $250. Simp­son pleaded guilty to pos­ses­sion of drug para­pher­na­lia and de­fi­ant tres­pass and was sen­tenced to 131 days to 23 months and fined $50.

Pros­e­cu­tors dropped felony charges of crim­i­nal tres­pass against the cou­ple, who have been jailed since their ar­rests.

As­sis­tant Pub­lic De­fender Eric White, who rep­re­sented Ste­wart, de­clined com­ment out­side the court­room.

Simp­son’s at­tor­ney, Ge­orge Mar­ge­tas, told the York Daily Record that his client has told the same story from the be­gin­ning and co­op­er­ated.

“She had no idea,” Mar­ge­tas said. “They le­git­i­mately got lost.”

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