O.C. man pleads guilty to firebombing Planned Parenthood clinic, plotting other attacks
An Orange County man has pleaded guilty to firebombing a Planned Parenthood clinic in Costa Mesa as well as plotting similar attacks elsewhere in Southern California, according to authorities.
Chance Brannon, 24, of San Juan Capistrano pleaded guilty Thursday to four federal charges: malicious destruction of property by fire and explosives, possessing an unregistered destructive device, intentional damage to a reproductive health services facility, and conspiracy.
Brannon, who at the time was an active duty U.S. Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton, was one of three suspects arrested in connection with the 2022 attack.
The other two defendants, Tibet Ergul, 22, of Irvine and Xavier Batten, 21, of Brooksville, Fla., have pleaded not guilty to their charges and are scheduled to go to trial in March.
U.S. Marine and 2nd man charged with firebombing Orange County Planned Parenthood. It was the latest in a surge of similar incidents.
According to Brannon’s plea agreement, the three made plans in February and March 2022 to use a Molotov cocktail against various targets, including the office of the Anti-Defamation League in San Diego. The trio decided to target the Planned Parenthood in Costa Mesa to deter doctors and scare pregnant women from seeking abortions, prosecutors said.
The plea agreement states Brannon and Ergul threw the incendiary weapon at the clinic on the morning of March 13, 2022. It exploded at the front entrance, leaving noticeable damage.
Later that year and into 2023, authorities say Brannon conspired to seek out additional targets, including a second Planned Parenthood clinic and the Dodgers’ LGBTQ+ Pride Night. He also discussed plans to start a “race war” by damaging a utility substation to disrupt Orange County’s power grid, according to the plea agreement.
A new federal indictment alleges a Florida man showed a Camp Pendleton Marine and his accomplice how to make the Molotov cocktail used in the Costa Mesa attack.
“This defendant exemplifies the insidious danger posed by domestic extremism,” U.S. Atty. Martin Estrada said in a statement.
Brannon was arrested in June and has remained in federal custody since.
“Chance is a young man who has made mistakes. He is looking forward to closing out this chapter in his life,” his attorney, Kate Corrigan, wrote in an email.
Brannon is due to be sentenced on April 15. He faces a maximum sentence of 51 years in prison.
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