Thea Eiker, the subject of a Feb. 3 City Paper story, may be seeing more of Pittsburgh than she intended: Having been arrested prior to the G-20 economic summit last year, she has been compelled to return to the city repeatedly on a misdemeanor charge. But she's also getting a chance to see the city's generosity.
Eiker, then a member of the activist group Seeds of Peace, was detained for allegedly giving a false name to a police officer investigating the group's bus. Born Synthea Dyer, Eiker gave officer Bryan Sellers her correct name before being arrested, but was incarcerated for five days anyway. Since then, she's has had to make several trips to Pittsburgh for court appearances. Eiker has no car and little money, and in January hitchhiked here from Missouri to attend a formal arraignment.
But after CP's story came out, several readers volunteered to help Eiker out with bus fare. And a local defense attorney, James Sheets, volunteered to represent her.
The reasons why "are a little bit sappy," says Sheets, who is serving pro bono. "My mother passed away on Feb. 1. And she always spoke very strongly about supporting causes you believed in -- even if they were unpopular. A few days later, I saw the article in City Paper, and I thought that if my mother were alive, she would tell me to take this case."
Eiker's trial, a non-jury proceeding before Judge Randal Todd, is scheduled for April 23.