Criminal Justice News

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Missouri Man Who Set Fire to Mosque and Who Attempted Arson at Planned Parenthood Sentenced to 63 Months in Prison

Jedediah Stout, 32, of Joplin, Missouri, was sentenced today in the Western District of Missouri to 63 months in prison for setting fire to the Islamic Society of Joplin mosque as well as for two attempted arsons of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Joplin, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson of the Western District of Missouri.

Stout pleaded guilty on April 18, 2016, to a four-count information that charged him with one count of damage to the Islamic Society of Joplin mosque, two counts of arson at a Planned Parenthood facility in Joplin and one count of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.  Stout was also ordered to pay $701,971 in restitution.

Stout, who told investigators that he did not like Islam as a religion, admitted in his guilty plea to setting a fire that destroyed the mosque on Aug. 6, 2012.  The mosque served families from neighboring states, many of whom provided funding for the operation of the mosque.  As a direct result of the fire, many donations made during the Muslim holy period of Ramadan were destroyed.

In his guilty plea, Stout also admitted to two arson attempts on Oct. 3 and Oct. 4, 2013, against the Planned Parenthood of Joplin.  In both attempts, Stout threw items containing an accelerant onto the roof of the Planned Parenthood facility and then ignited material attached to the accelerant.  Surveillance video captured his consecutive attempts to set the fires and Stout was apprehended soon after those attempts.  Stout admitted to investigators that he was responsible for both Planned Parenthood arson attempts and for the mosque arson, and that he had committed the mosque arson using the same kind of incendiary device as in the Planned Parenthood arson attempts.  Stout further admitted that he targeted Planned Parenthood because they provide reproductive health care services.

“This sentence sends a clear message that violence targeting where people worship or access reproductive health care services violates federal law and carries severe consequences,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Gupta.  “The Justice Department will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute these crimes as we strive to protect the safety and diversity of our communities.”

“No American should fear being the victim of violence simply for exercising their constitutional rights,” said U.S. Attorney Dickinson.  “When hate and intolerance lead to criminal attacks, we will protect our citizens and defend their civil rights.”

The case was investigated by the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Joplin Police Department.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Kelleher of the Western District of Missouri and Trial Attorney Julia Gegenheimer of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section.

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