(RightWing.org) – A former US Marine has pleaded guilty to an arson attack on an abortion clinic while he was on active duty. He also admitted to planning an entire campaign of firebombings. Two of his alleged accomplices are denying the charges.
On March 13, 2022, a Planned Parenthood clinic in Costa Mesa, California, was attacked with a gasoline bomb. Security camera footage showed two men throwing the bomb at the clinic’s front door. Investigators quickly identified one of the men as Tibut Ergul — and the other as Chance Brannon, a serving Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton.
On November 30, Brannon pleaded guilty to all four federal charges against him, including conspiracy and malicious property damage. He told the court he and Ergul had targeted the clinic to frighten its staff and women who wanted to get an abortion there, in the hope it would prevent abortions from taking place. He also said that, after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last summer, he and Ergul started planning other attacks and brought in and trained a third conspirator, Xavier Batten of Florida. When Brannon and Ergul were arrested they were planning attacks on another abortion clinic, the power grid, and a Pride event at the LA Dodgers stadium. Prosecutors said Brannon had stored operational plans for the attacks on a USB drive marked with the US Marine Corps motto, Semper Fidelis. He had also collected equipment for use in the attacks; worryingly this included a rifle and two handguns.
Brannon will be sentenced on April 15 next year. All four charges carry a five-year mandatory minimum sentence and a maximum of 20 years. Ergul and Batten deny all the charges and will face trial in March.
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