PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — A man who set a fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Illinois was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in federal prison.
Tyler Massengill has admitted using a homemade explosive to set a fire at the Peoria clinic in January, a few days after Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a law with additional legal protections for abortion procedures. No one was inside the clinic when the fire happened.
“I feel for the people who have lost their jobs. I’m not trying to play like I am victim at this. I was sincerely hurt,” Massengill, 32, said in court, apparently a reference to his belief that a former girlfriend had an abortion a few years ago.
Prosecutors, however, said the woman told the FBI that wasn’t true.
U.S. District Judge James Shadid said people who typically visit the clinic for a variety of services have had to look elsewhere because of extensive damage to the building, WMBD-TV reported.
“And to add to your accomplishments, there’s the striking of fear, stress and inconvenience to thousands of patients and employees from the many other Planned Parenthood facilities who wonder if they are next on the list of misguided people like you,” the judge said.
Shadid went slightly above the sentencing guidelines but below the possible maximum prison term of 20 years.
Defense attorney Karl Bryning asked for a five-year prison sentence, noting Massengill’s history of mental health problems and alcohol abuse.
In addition to the prison sentence, the judge ordered Massengill, a Chillicothe resident, to pay $1.45 million in restitution.
The clinic plans to reopen in 2024.
“Justice has been served. ... We stand in solidarity with the community in Peoria that continues to heal from this traumatic event,” said Jennifer Welch, president of Planned Parenthood of Illinois.