Two Men Guilty of Florida Anti-Abortion Bombings
A federal jury today convicted two men on all charges stemming from three Christmas Day anti-abortion bombings, but found the wife of one and the fiancee of the other guilty only on a single conspiracy count.
Matthew Goldsby and James Simmons, both 21, each were convicted on one count of conspiracy, three of making bombs and three of blowing up a clinic and the offices of two doctors where abortions were performed.
Goldsby’s fiancee, Kaye Wiggins, 18, and Simmons’ wife, Kathren, 19, had been charged with the same counts but were cleared of all but the conspiracy count.
The men each face maximum sentences of 65 years. The maximum for the women is five years.
The jury had deliberated for 4 1/2 hours since receiving the case Tuesday from U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson.
The defendants had claimed God told them to bomb the facilities, and put on psychiatric testimony--disputed by the prosecution--that the accused were insane.
“Either God told these kids what to do or something’s wrong up here,” said defense lawyer T. Patrick Monaghan, pointing to his head, as he urged the jury to return innocent verdicts.
Paul Shimek, a Pensacola lawyer representing Wiggins, argued that Satan may have caused them to misinterpret God’s message.
The defendants had code-named the attacks the “Gideon Project” after a biblical character told by God to destroy pagan altars where children were sacrificed.
Monaghan, representing Goldsby, and Simmons’ attorney, Frank E. Booker, argued that the bombings were not crimes under the “defense of necessity” because the attacks were necessary to halt the destruction of human life and other means were unavailable.
But Vinson instructed the jury that a threat must be imminent in order for the defense of necessity to apply. He also said that “good motive alone is never a defense when the act done is a crime.”