Home U.S. News California Man Gets 9 Years in Firebombing of Planned Parenthood Clinic

California Man Gets 9 Years in Firebombing of Planned Parenthood Clinic

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California Man Gets 9 Years in Firebombing of Planned Parenthood Clinic

A California man who used a Molotov cocktail to firebomb a clinic providing abortion services was sentenced to nine years in prison on Monday in the 2022 attack on the facility, which is operated by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in Costa Mesa, Calif., federal authorities said.

The man, Chance Brannon, 24, was an active-duty member of the U.S. Marine Corps and was stationed at Camp Pendleton when he carried out the attack, the United States attorney’s office for the Central District of California, said in a statement. The federal authorities referred to him as a former Marine.

He also was plotting attacks at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles during a pride celebration and on an electrical substation in Orange County, Calif., which he believed would start a race war, as well as planned home invasions targeting Jewish residents of Los Angeles, the statement said.

U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney said Mr. Brannon, who was also ordered to pay $1,000 in restitution, “engaged in cruel and indefensible domestic terrorism.”

Mr. Brannon pleaded guilty in November to one count each of charges of conspiracy; malicious destruction of property by fire and explosives; possession of an unregistered destructive device, and intentionally damaging a reproductive health services facility, the federal authorities said.

Mr. Brannon and a co-conspirator, Tibet Ergul, 22, of Irvine, Calif., wore hooded sweatshirts and masks as they lit and threw a Molotov cocktail at the clinic’s entrance at around 1 a.m. on March 13, 2022, according to a criminal complaint. It struck the entrance and started a fire, the statement said.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in the statement on Monday that Mr. Brannon placed lives at risk by launching the “brazen attack” against the clinic, which provided abortion, birth control and other health care services.

The government’s sentencing memorandum said that Mr. Brannon was motivated by an “extremist neo-Nazi ideology” and placed calls in 2022 to “two foreign adversaries,” hoping to provide intelligence on the United States, the statement said.

Prosecutors said he kept a “gear list” for his plans, including a rifle with a racial slur written in Cyrillic, and had a recording of the 2019 mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which a white supremacist killed 51 people and injured 40 others.

Mr. Brannon is the first of three men to be sentenced in the case, one of many attacks in recent years targeting facilities or doctors providing abortions in the United States. The clinic in Costa Mesa was forced to close the day after the firebombing and cancel dozens of appointments. The building sustained about $1,000 worth of damage, the criminal filing says.

Mr. Ergul pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to damage an energy facility and intentional damage to a reproductive health services facility, and is expected to be sentenced on May 30. The men were arrested on June 14, 2023, two days before their planned attack at the stadium, the statement said.

A third defendant in the case, Xavier Batten, 21, of Brooksville, Fla., has been in federal custody since July 2023. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of possession of an unregistered destructive device and one count of intentional damage to a reproductive health services facility. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 13.

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