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Spring Hill Man Charged in Fire Bombing of Planned Parenthood Clinic

SANTA ANA, California – Last week, R News reported the arrest of 21-year-old Xavier Batten during a raid on Boca Raton Street, Spring Hill.

Today, the Department of Justice (DOJ) formally charged Batten with one count of conspiracy and one count of malicious destruction of property by fire and explosion. The charges stem from a March 22nd firebombing attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Orange County, California.

According to the DOJ, Batten and two co-defendants, Chance Brannon, 23, of San Juan Capistrano, an active-duty Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton, and Tibet Ergul, 21, of Irvine, plotted to throw a Molotov cocktail at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Costa Mesa. Brannon and Ergul allegedly chose the target property, obtained the materials necessary to construct a Molotov cocktail, assembled the destructive device, then, during the early morning hours of March 13, 2022, threw the ignited Molotov cocktail at the clinic. The device struck the clinic, causing damage to the entrance. Batten allegedly advised and directed Brannon regarding how to build the Molotov cocktail. Officials say damage to the building resulted in the cancellation of 30 appointments.

The conspiracy and malicious destruction counts in the indictment each carry a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison and a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. The count of possession of an unregistered destructive device is punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison. The intentional damage to a reproductive health facility charge carries a statutory maximum sentence of one year in federal prison.

"The violent and reckless attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic alleged in the indictment is intolerable," said United States Attorney Martin Estrada. "This indictment shows that federal law enforcement will work diligently to uncover and hold accountable those who plan and carry out violent extremist acts against others."

"Those who deliberately put lives at risk and damage property by launching improvised explosive devices into public facilities will be sought and will be held accountable, as this case makes clear," said Donal Alway, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office. Batten made his initial appearance on Friday in United States District Court in the Middle District of Florida. He was ordered held without bond pending trial.

 

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