After a trial full of grisly detail, a jury found Oregon resident Jack Lee Harelson guilty of looting an Indian burial cave in Nevada. Although the crime was too old to prosecute under the federal Archaeological Resources Protection Act, the state of Oregon convicted him on state charges of theft, abusing a corpse and tampering with evidence.
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
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."
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