Federal prosecutors have revealed that a former Marine has entered a guilty plea for firebombing a Planned Parenthood clinic in California.
When the attack happened early on March 13, 2022, Chance Brannon, a resident of San Juan Capistrano, California, was an active-duty Marine stationed at Fort Pendleton. In July, during their arraignment hearing, Xavier Batten, 21, of Brooksville, Florida, and Tibet Ergul, 21, of Irvine, both entered not guilty pleas. He was accused alongside them. Their trial is still pending.
Brannon and Ergul set off a Molotov cocktail and threw it at the Costa Mesa clinic’s entrance, causing damage to the front of the building, according to an affidavit from FBI Special Agent Jennifer Hirsch. Planned Parenthood was forced to reschedule about 30 appointments while repairs were being made, but no one was hurt in the attack—according to authorities, it was primarily vacant at the time.
Brannon talked of other attacks that weren’t carried out, according to the Central California U.S. Attorney’s Office.
As per the U.S. attorney’s office statement, Brannon and another charged individual “talked about starting a race war” by targeting a power substation. They also discussed attempting to set fire to a second Planned Parenthood location.
In addition, according to the plea agreement’s statement of facts, Brannon possessed a gun bearing a Cyrillic message mentioning death and a racial slur, as well as a thumb drive containing a video of the white nationalist mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand.
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, Brannon entered a guilty plea on Thursday to four charges, which included conspiracy, malicious destruction of property by fire and explosives, possession of an unregistered destructive device, and intentional damage to a reproductive health services facility. As part of a plea agreement, the 24-year-old reportedly acknowledged planning attacks against several targets, including as the Anti-Defamation League in San Diego and an LGBTQ pride night celebration at Dodger Stadium.
However, the plea agreement states that he chose to target Planned Parenthood “because he wanted to make a statement against abortion, scare pregnant women away from obtaining abortions, deter doctors, staff, and employees of the clinic from providing abortions, intimidate and interfere with the patients of the clinic, and encourage others to engage in similar acts of protest.”
June saw the arrest of Brannon. Xavier Batten of Florida and Tibet Ergul of California, the other two defendants, have entered not guilty pleas.
Kate Corrigan, Brannon’s lawyer, stated, “He is looking forward to putting this chapter of his life behind him.”
According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Brannon entered a guilty plea to conspiracy, malicious property destruction by fire and explosives, possession of an unregistered destructive device, and intentional damage to a reproductive health services facility.
It stated that mandatory minimum terms of five years in jail are imposed on two of the counts.