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Sentence Trimmed in Abortion-Clinic Bomb Plot

A member of a fundamentalist Santee church who pleaded guilty to conspiring to bomb a San Diego abortion clinic has had her prison sentence reduced, a judge said Monday. She was among several persons involved in the conspiracy who have been seeking sentence reductions.

A clerk for U. S. District Judge Earl Gilliam confirmed Monday that Cheryl Sullenger of Spring Valley, a member of the Bible Missionary Fellowship Church, had her sentence reduced from 3 years to 2 1/2 years.

Gilliam took the request to reduce the sentence under submission Oct. 17. He ordered a progress report as to her confinement in a Kentucky prison.

Lloyd Tooks, her attorney, argued that the sentence was a hardship on her family because her husband has to take care of their young children. Her husband, Randall Sullenger, was himself sentenced to 18 months in prison, but Gilliam earlier this year staggered the terms so one parent would be free to take care of the children.

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Other members of the fundamentalist church also pleaded guilty to taking part in the conspiracy to bomb the abortion clinic.

The church’s pastor, Dorman Owens, 55, is serving a 22-month prison term for tampering with witness Eric Svelmoe, 32, of El Cajon, who admitted placing the bomb at the clinic on July 27, 1987.

The bomb failed to go off, and Svelmoe was arrested shortly afterward. Owens and other church members were indicted by a federal grand jury in December, 1987, and all but one pleaded guilty to various charges.

Meanwhile, Gilliam took under submission another request Monday from another church member, Jo Anne Kreipel of Santee, to reduce her 15-month sentence, the result of her guilty plea on a charge of conspiracy.

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Kreipel’s attorney, Richard Barnett, argued Monday that Kreipel has medical problems and should have her term reduced to nine months. She is serving her sentence in Northern California.

Requests for sentence reductions for Randall Sullenger and Chris Harmon will be considered next year.


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