Waters was part of a team of Earth Liberation Front activists that set off a firebomb May 21, 2001 causing $7 million in damages at the University of Washington's Center for Urban Horticulture Waters acted as lookout. Before her indictment, she was living in Oakland, California with her young daughter and working as a music teacher.
At the time of the crime, Waters was a student at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. In a student report on "personal achievement" she submitted to Evergreen, she wrote about her participation in protests at the offices of the Plum Creek Timber Company. At the time of the crime she was dating a fellow Evergreen student named Justin Solondz, now a fugitive sought by the police for his participation in the bombing for which Waters was convicted.
During the trial, a “Support Briana” movement was organized.  On June 19, 2008 Waters was sentenced to six years in federal prison and ordered to pay $6 Million in restitution by U.S. District Court Judge Franklin Burgess.
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