FBI Confirms Fugitive In Caltech Eco-Terror Case Has Died

Comments (0)


Fri, Feb 5, 2010 at 4:30 PM

click to enlarge elf.gif
The FBI has confirmed that Tyler Johnson, a fugitive whom prosecutors considered a co-conspirator in the 2003 fire-bombing of an SUV dealership in West Covina, has died.

According to an obituary posted on the website of the Staffan-Mitchell Funeral Home in Stockbridge, Mich., Johnson died in an avalanche during a solo expedition in the mountains of Corsica.

FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller confirmed that Johnson's remains have been identified through fingerprints. He and another alleged co-conspirator, Michie Oe, are believed to have fled the country shortly after the environmentally motivated attack.

The obituary states that Johnson spent the last six years on Corsica, during which time he "befriended dozens of people, hiked nearly all 214 summits greater than 2000 meters, and co-founded Solaria, a non-profit association that designs solar technology to power affordable, easily-constructed stoves for residents of third-world countries."

Billy Cottrell, a fellow Caltech student, was tried and convicted for the SUV attack, and is serving an eight-year sentence at a low-security facility in Arizona. At trial, Cottrell's attorneys argued that Johnson and Oe had duped him into participating in the arson spree, but they were prohibited from presenting evidence that Cottrell was vulnerable to persuasion because he suffered from Asperger's syndrome.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently overturned Cottrell's convictions on seven of eight counts, arguing that the trial judge should have allowed the Asperger's testimony. Despite that ruling, the trial judge resentenced Cottrell in December to the same eight-year term. He is due to be released in about 15 months.

Related Content


Now Trending

  • Sexual Predator Is Targeting Females in Eastside Park

    A sexual predator is on the loose in an Eastside park, police warned today. Cops say the creep has targeted "lone females" walking in Ernest E. Debs Regional Park three times between January and July. He has groped, exposed himself and even attacked with a knife, the Los Angeles Police...
  • Foster the People's Downtown L.A. Mural Is Coming Down

    The controversial Foster the People mural downtown is coming down, the office of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced today. Despite claims by the pop band that it had necessary permits and that the artwork was legitimately produced, the mayor's office states what we reported previously: The piece is on a...
  • U.S. Reps Call For Federal Intervention in Dodger TV Blackout

    A group of local U.S. representatives wants the Federal Communications Commission to help end Time Warner Cable's blackout of Dodger games for competing cable and satellite providers. Negotiations to bring the team's games to AT&T U-verse, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, DirecTV, Dish Network, Mediacom, Suddenlink Communications and Verizon FIOS have gotten...
Los Angeles Concert Tickets


  • Street League Skateboarding Super Crown World Championship
    On Sunday, Street League Skateboarding touched down in the Galen Center at USC as part of a four-stop tour for SLS's Super Crown World Championship. The L.A. stop determined the roster for Super Crown, airing August 24th on FOX Sports 1. The final eight are Nyjah Huston, Luan Oliveira, Torey Pudwill, Shane O'Neill, Paul Rodriguez, Chaz Ortiz, Matt Berger and Ishod Wair. All photos by Nanette Gonzales.
  • Comic-Con's "Celebrity" Autograph Area
    A sometimes overlooked (but still incredibly unique) aspect of San Diego Comic-Con are the celebs available to sign autographs, as well as the autograph seekers themselves. If you've ever wanted to meet the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld or the guy who played Michelangelo in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, chances are, as you wander the Autograph Area, you'll be able to connect with someone you didn't even realize you were waiting your whole life to meet! All photos by Rob Inderrieden.
  • Real Madrid Soccer Practice at UCLA
    Fans came out to greet world champion soccer team Real Madrid as they practice at UCLA. This is the first time that soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has practiced with the team this year. All photos by Jeff Cowan.