3rd man arrested in firebombing of Planned Parenthood in Southern California last year

24 July 2023

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A third man has been arrested on federal charges related to the firebombing of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Southern California last year, authorities said Monday.

Xavier Batten, 21, was arrested Friday in Florida and has been ordered to be detained pending trial, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles said. Online court records for the case in California do not list an attorney for him.

Two other defendants who were arrested last month are due to appear in federal court in California Monday, prosecutors said in a statement. Tibet Ergul, 21, of Irvine, and Chance Brannon, 23, of San Juan Capistrano, a Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton, are expected to be arraigned in federal court in Santa Ana.

All three men are charged with conspiracy and malicious destruction of property by fire and explosion, the statement said. Ergul and Brannon also face additional charges.

“This indictment shows that federal law enforcement will work diligently to uncover and hold accountable those who plan and carry out violent extremist acts against others,” U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said in the statement.

Brannon will plead not guilty, said Kate Corrigan, his attorney. Sheila Mojtehedi, Ergul’s attorney, declined to comment.

The charges are tied to an attack at the clinic in the Southern California city of Costa Mesa at around 1 a.m. on March 13, 2022, authorities said. A Molotov cocktail was thrown at the front of the building and fire spread up a wall and across a ceiling.

Security video recorded two people in hooded sweatshirts and face masks carry out the attack. No one was hurt but the clinic had to cancel about 30 appointments, authorities said.

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