Harelson and his ex-wife Pamela, who testified against him at the trial, had excavated the basket-encased mummies of two Paiute Indian children in the early 1980s. Pamela Harelson told the jury that once back in Oregon, they removed the basket contents "so we could get to the goodies," reports the Salt Lake Tribune. Harelson then detached the skulls and reburied the corpses in plastic bags in his backyard, according to District Attorney Tim Thompson.
Harelson says he plans to appeal, adding that he's an amateur archaeologist practicing a common Western hobby on public lands. "I know I'm not a grave robber," he said. His sentence, which could be up to 20 years in prison, will be announced Feb. 6.
Wilson Wewa Jr., a Paiute religious leader from central Oregon who testified at the trial, applauded the conviction: "If he can't understand that it's against the law, he must be mentally sick."
Meanwhile, Earl Shumway, a notorious Utah pothunter who once bragged that he had raided thousands of ancient sites, was recently sentenced to six-and-one-half years in prison. He was convicted this summer on four violations of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (HCN, 9/4/95).
* Elizabeth Manning
- Michael/Teresa Newberry on American Indian students in Utah face harsh discipline
- Penelope Blair on Rains bring incomplete drought relief to parts of Southwest
- W. Fred Sanders on American Indian students in Utah face harsh discipline
- Jennafer Waggoner-Yellowhorse on American Indian students in Utah face harsh discipline
- Steve Snyder on Making a monument from scratch