One of two men whose federal conviction for stealing American Indian artwork was overturned says the pair simply wanted to protect the ancient petroglyphs from encroaching development.
Carroll Mizell served 10 months in prison after being found
guilty in June 2004 of stealing the rock art. But he says all they
wanted to do was save the artifacts. He says, quoting now, "We
didn't do this because we wanted to put them on e-Bay."
The Ninth U-S Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the conviction
yesterday, saying the Justice Department failed to prove the rock
art taken from a national forest on the edge of Reno had a market
value of more than one-thousand-dollars.
Mizell and John Ligon of Reno admitted during their federal
court trial in Reno that they took three boulders with etchings of
an archer and bighorn sheep. But they insisted they didn't know it
was illegal, partly because there were no signs marking the site.
Mizell, who now lives in Redmond, Oregon, says he does NOT feel
vindicated by the ruling.
He says his name was "trashed" in the community and he was
made out to be a "rock thief."