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'If you want a free hug, I got you': Counter-protesters respond to Jake Eakin at EWU

Eakin, an anti-abortion activist, was convicted of second-degree murder for killing a 13-year-old special needs boy in Ephrata in 2005 when he was 12-years-old.

CHENEY, Wash. — Anti-abortion activist and convicted murderer Jake Eakin drew counter-protesters at the Eastern Washington University campus on Wednesday afternoon as he went to protest abortion.

Eakin said he and his colleagues were on campus to speak with students about eliminating abortion in Spokane and Washington state.

"We're here to be a voice for the voiceless pre-born children that are being murdered in the community of Spokane," Eakin said. "And to seek to wake up this community, including these college students to begin to take action on behalf of these children that desperately need their help."

On November 7, an anti-abortion protester at EWU was arrested for allegedly spitting on and spanking a female student. Wednesday's protest and counter-protest was noticeably smaller than the Nov. 7 demonstration.

Eakin said they weren't there to cause any problems.

"We're not here to try to cause any type of reaction. We just want to have dialogue and try to stir these students up into love and good work toward their pre-born neighbor," Eakin said.

Eakin was convicted of murdering 13-year-old special needs student Craig Sorger in Ephrata in 2005. Eakin was 12-years-old at the time, as was Evan Savoie, the other person convicted in Sorger's death. Since leaving prison, Eakin has been an outspoken anti-abortion activist.

Counter-protesters said they didn't feel safe by Eakin's presence on campus, but one counter-protester said they wouldn't list exact reasons they felt unsafe when asked due to legal reasons.

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A woman EWU student named said students didn't feel safe due to past experiences with Eakin's group.

Due to this, students were gathering inside of a campus building and writing on sheets of paper what issues they wanted to discuss. The student said this came in an attempt to be inclusive.

"We want to make sure we can talk about issues that matter to college students and that we do it in a very inclusive way," she said.

She also added that they wanted to make sure all students felt safe.

Another counter-protester said, "We want them to know that we love them, and if you want a free hug, I got you."

A junior EWU student said she was made uncomfortable by Eakin asking students to discuss their spirituality and salvation.

"If I wanted to talk about my liberty and my salvation, I would do that with whatever organization that I belong to," she said.

Eakin said he has changed since his time in prison and that people shouldn't be scared of him. 

"The old Jake Eakin would have never been living a life like this unless impacted by God," Eakin said.

He also added that people shouldn't feel unsafe due to him being there, as the point of him being on campus was to "speak against murder."

"Of course many people are aware that I was convicted of second degree murder when I was 12 years old and served 14 years of prison for that. The reason I'm here today is to speak against murder," Eakin said.

He also added that they are in the process of helping students at Yakima Valley Community College form an "abolitionist" club against abortion. He also claimed college campuses are "breeding grounds of intolerance."

A student at the counter-protest said a Trans-Remembrance Day candle light vigil is being held Wednesday evening on the EWU campus.

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The following is video from the protest and counter-protest at EWU on Nov. 7.

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