A Catholic priest seeking reduced sentences for two hospitalized Lorton Reformatory inmates ended his protest yesterday at a landfill adjacent to the District-run prison in southern Fairfax County.
Father Eugene Brake spent the weekend at the 300-acre landfill, which was the apparent source of recent methane gas leaks that triggered two explosions in the prison that injured Anthony Johnson, 25, and Arthur Moody, 25.
Johnson was listed in critical condition yesterday at Washington Hospital Center and Moody was reported in fair condition.
Brake said that he visited the two men in the hospital after he left the landfill yesterday afternoon, and that Johnson appeared in grave condition.
Johnson is serving a six-year prison term for burglary and car theft, and Moody is serving a six-year sentence for grand larceny and car theft.
Brake originally tried to get arrested by obstructing traffic at the landfill to call attention to the plight of the two inmates.
When police declined to arrest him, he decided to spend the weekend meditating at the landfill, he said. He said that he prayed and slept outside, despite offers from landfill officials to come indoors at night, he said.
The priest said yesterday that, after discussing his protest with other clergymen, he decided that his action was "ill-conceived" and that he would go home.
Brake said that he has received no official response to his plea on behalf of the two men.
"All I wanted to do was call attention to the suffering of these two men," Brake said. "We should remove [their] sentence out of sheer decency . . . out of fairness and justness."
Brake said he is not sure what his next step is, but that he still would like to see a sentence reduction for the two injured men. "They've suffered enough," he said.