Hugo-Nominated Sci-Fi Author Convicted in Border Melee

Dystopian science fiction author and video game story contributor Peter Watts faces up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine after being found guilty of assaulting, resisting and obstructing a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer last year.

Watts was arrested in December at the Blue Water Bridge border crossing between the United States and Canada. According to the writer, he was beaten by the Border Patrol, refused his rights, and had his property seized unlawfully.

Officers maintain that Watts failed to comply with instructions, with Officer Andrew Beaudry claiming the writer pulled him into his vehicle and attempted to choke him.

After hearing the verdict from the jurors, Watts wrote a lengthy post on his blog reacting to the verdict, claiming to hold no ill will towards any of the trial's participants, and pledging to abide by the outcome of the case.

Whether that's actual noncompliance or simply slow compliance is, I suspect, what the jury had to decide. That's what they did, and while I think they made the wrong decision I'm obviously not the most impartial attendee at this party. I still maintain I did nothing wrong; but as far as I can tell the trial was fair, and I will abide by its outcome.

Watts will be sentenced on April 24th. Michigan prosecutors are trying to determine if a 1991 conviction for obstructing a police officer on Ontario, Canada counts as a repeat offense, as Michigan law calls for harsher sentences to repeat offenders.

Watts contributed to the story for a number of video games including Homeworld 2 and Crysis 2. He also wrote novels Starfish, Maelstrom and Behemoth. Watts did not respond to emails seeking comment, but we will update the story when and if he does.

Author found guilty of Blue Water Bridge assault [The Observer via GamePro]