Judge calls Florida man a coward for firebomb attack on abortion clinic

The judge said Batten had committed a ‘cowardly crime’ that showed ‘no empathy for women and their rights’

Rich Booth
Tuesday 14 May 2024 09:56
The aftermath of a Molotov cocktail attack on March 13, 2002, at a Planned Parenthood in Costa Mesa
The aftermath of a Molotov cocktail attack on March 13, 2002, at a Planned Parenthood in Costa Mesa (U.S Department of Justice)

A 21-year-old Florida man has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for firebombing a reproductive health clinic, prosecutors confirmed, with a judge saying he has “no empathy for women and their rights”.

Xavier Batten pleaded guilty in January to one count of possessing an unregistered destructive device and one count of intentionally damaging a reproductive health services facility.

US District Judge Cormac J Carney also sentenced Batten, of Brooksville, Florida, to three years of probation and ordered him to pay 1,000 dollars (£798) in restitution, the US Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

The judge said Batten had committed a “cowardly crime” that showed “no empathy for women and their rights,” according to the statement.

The clinic in Costa Mesa was bombed on March 13 2022 when surveillance footage showed two men throwing a Molotov cocktail at the front door of the facility.

The clinic was closed at the time and no one was injured.

Chance Brannon, 24, was sentenced last month to nine years in prison. Brannon, of San Juan Capistrano, California, was an active-duty Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton at the time of the bombing.

Another co-defendant, Tibet Ergul, has pleaded guilty to the charges against him and is scheduled to be sentenced May 30.

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