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William Cottrell is a former PhD student in physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is best known for his involvement in the 2003 Santa Cruz Eco-Terrorism case, in which he and three other activists were accused of causing millions of dollars in damages to research facilities in California. Cottrell was born in 1980 in Concord, North Carolina. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he earned a bachelor's degree in physics in 2002. He then moved to California to pursue a PhD in physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In 2003, Cottrell and three other activists were arrested and charged with multiple counts of arson and vandalism in connection with the Santa Cruz Eco-Terrorism case. Cottrell pleaded guilty to one count of arson and was sentenced to seven years in prison. He was released in 2009 after serving five years. Since his release, Cottrell has become an advocate for prison reform and environmental justice. He is a member of the California Coalition for Women Prisoners and the California Coalition for Environmental Justice. He is also a board member of the Prison Activist Resource Center.

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Occupation Graduate Research assistant at the University of Wisconsin–Madison
Age 43 years old
Zodiac Sign N/A
Born , 1980
Birthplace Concord, North Carolina, United States
Nationality United States

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William Cottrell Height, Weight & Measurements

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He is currently single. He is not dating anyone. We don't have much information about He's past relationship and any previous engaged. According to our Database, He has no children.

Parents William Cottrell and Heidi Schwiebert
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William Cottrell Net Worth

His net worth has been growing significantly in 2022-2023. So, how much is William Cottrell worth at the age of 43 years old? William Cottrell’s income source is mostly from being a successful . He is from United States. We have estimated William Cottrell's net worth , money, salary, income, and assets.

Net Worth in 2023 $1 Million - $5 Million
Salary in 2023 Under Review
Net Worth in 2022 Pending
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William Jensen "Billy" Cottrell (born 1980) is a former Ph.D. candidate at the California Institute of Technology who was convicted in April 2005 of conspiracy associated with the destruction of eight sport utility vehicles and a Hummer dealership in the name of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). He was sentenced to eight years in federal prison on conspiracy charges and ordered to pay $3.5 million in restitution. His lawyers, however, have appealed the verdict and sentence. He was released August 16, 2011.


On 8 September 2009, Cottrell's convictions and sentences for arson were overturned by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. However, the conspiracy conviction and sentence were affirmed. According to the Times, the omission of Cottrell's diagnosis of Asperger syndrome during his 2004 trial played a key role in the decision. Cottrell was released on August 16, 2011.


A documentary film on Cottrell, titled Standard Deviation, was written and directed by David Randag and Chris Brannan in 2008. In 2009, it won the Emmy for best student documentary at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation's 30th College Television Awards.


A letter in Cottrell's defense, signed by Stephen Hawking and other prominent scientists, was distributed to prison authorities and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals at Cottrell's October 18, 2006 hearing. He was then transferred into another federal prison with less violent prisoners. Cottrell was then able to study subjects that he was denied at the last prison and no longer had a roommate.


He was arrested in March 2004 after law enforcement tracked him sending emails to the Los Angeles Times. The e-mails signed by "Tony Marsden" speak about what the ELF cell had done, vandalizing more than 130 SUVs parked at dealerships or residential homes, claiming they were damaging the environment. He was charged with conspiracy to commit arson, arson, and one count of using a destructive device during a crime of violence, in an October 24, 2004 Federal grand jury indictment. Cottrell's lawyers stated that he was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. However, Judge Gary Klausner would not allow a defense based upon the claim that Cottrell was suffering from Asperger syndrome.


In August 2003, Cottrell and Tyler Johnson developed a plan to place bumper stickers on SUVs reading "SUV = TERRORISM." In a series of emails that were later recovered by the FBI, Cottrell attempted to recruit friends to help him purchase the bumper stickers, and organised arson attacks on a series of Hummer dealers.