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FBI Investigated Suspect Before Clinic Killings

<i> Associated Press</i>

A month before he was arrested in the killing of an abortion doctor and bodyguard, a former minister was investigated but not arrested by the FBI for allegedly violating a federal law protecting abortion clinics.

Prosecutors weighed the clinic’s rights against Paul Hill’s right of free speech and decided an arrest wasn’t warranted, FBI spokesman George Wisnovsky said Sunday.

The director of the Pensacola clinic had asked that Hill be arrested under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. The law makes it a crime to obstruct, intentionally injure or intimidate anyone trying to obtain an abortion.

Linda Taggart, director of The Ladies Center in Pensacola, complained that Hill had been screaming through the clinic’s windows. Hill was a regular protester who advocated the killing of abortion doctors as justifiable homicide.

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Hill, 40, is charged with two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder in the deaths of Dr. John Bayard Britton, 69, of Fernandina Beach, and retired Air Force Lt. Col. James Herman Barrett, 74, of Pensacola. The men were killed Friday by multiple shotgun blasts as they drove into the clinic’s parking lot.

Barrett’s wife, June, 68, a retired public health nurse, was wounded in the arm.


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