(UnitedVoice.com) – In January, a Planned Parenthood clinic was lit on fire in Illinois. The suspect in the case was quickly arrested and soon pleaded guilty. Now, a court has sentenced him to prison.
On August 15, 33-year-old Tyler W. Massengill received a sentence of 10 years in prison for lighting a Planned Parenthood in Peoria, Illinois, on fire. He will also serve three years of supervised release when he is out of prison and will have to pay $1,450,000.
The defendant pleaded guilty in February to lighting the facility on fire. He was charged with an attempt to damage and the malicious use of fire and an explosive to damage the Peoria Health Center. According to a Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs press release, Massengill thought his ex-girlfriend went to the clinic for an abortion.
David Nanz, the FBI special agent in charge of the Springfield Field Office, issued a statement saying the defendant’s “actions represent the very real threat posed by extremists” in American communities. He said that protecting people from those extremists is “a top priority for the FBI,” and the agency is focused on “identifying, investigating, and disrupting” those who go from vocally expressing opinions to committing federal crimes.
Planned Parenthood of Illinois convened a press conference after Massengill was sentenced. President Jennifer Welch said justice was served in the case, and a “powerful message has been sent that acts of violence” against the clinics wouldn’t “be tolerated.” She went on to say that when someone carried out an attack of that nature, they “rob the community” of critical health services.
Rep. Eric Sorensen (D-IL) also issued a statement calling the January attack “disgusting” and saying the clinic “provides important reproductive care” to the communities surrounding it. He expressed gratitude that justice was served and said he was “proud to stand with organizations like Planned Parenthood” to keep reproductive care available to those who need it.
The clinic expects to reopen next year.
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