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Trident Protester Cleared In First Jury Trial

February 27, 1987

TITUSVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ One of the 186 protesters arrested at Kennedy Space Center last month during demonstrations against the test launch of an unarmed Trident 2 missile has been acquitted of trespassing.

Jim Welch was found innocent Thursday after two security guards admitted he could wander onto the base without seeing no-trespassing signs or climbing a fence.

The St. Petersburg man was the first of the protesters arrested between Jan. 8 and Jan. 17 to stand jury trial. A score of activists attended the trial, some of whom said they expected 100 of the arrested demonstrators to ask for jury trials.

The demonstrations peaked Jan. 17 when some 4,000 people massed at the gates of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and adjacent Kennedy Space Center.

Also during Thursday’s proceedings, Brevard County Judge Daniel Citak granted a motion by the state to exclude political and religious views from defense arguments of future trials.

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