Former Marine pleads guilty in California Planned Parenthood firebomb attack

A former Marine pleaded guilty Thursday in a 2022 firebombing attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in California, federal prosecutors said.

Chance Brannon, 24, is one of three men charged in the Molotov cocktail attack on the building in Costa Mesa, which occurred while Brannon was an active-duty Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton, officials said.

No one was hurt in the March 13, 2022, incident, which occurred in the early morning when no one was there. The front entrance had some burn damage, and the clinic had to reschedule about 30 appointments.

Planned Parenthood clinic in Costa Mesa, Calif.
The Planned Parenthood clinic in Costa Mesa, Calif.Google Maps

The U.S. attorney’s office for Central California said Brannon discussed other attacks, which were not carried out.

That included discussions about trying to burn down a second Planned Parenthood facility and that Brannon and another person who was charged “discussed starting a race war” by attacking a power substation, the U.S. attorney’s office said in a statement.

Brannon also had a rifle with a Cyrillic message that referred to death and a racial slur, as well as a thumb drive with a recording of the Christchurch, New Zealand, white supremacist mass shooting, the plea deal says in a statement of facts that Brannon agreed to.

“This defendant exemplifies the insidious danger posed by domestic extremism,” U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said in a statement.

Brannon was arrested in June. The two other people charged, Tibet Ergul of California and Xavier Batten of Florida, have pleaded not guilty.

Brannon’s attorney, Kate Corrigan, said, “He is looking forward to putting this chapter of his life behind him.”

Brannon and Ergul built the Molotov cocktail, which is a firebomb, in Ergul’s garage in California after Batten instructed them how, Brannon said in the plea agreement.

Brannon pleaded guilty to conspiracy, malicious destruction of property by fire and explosives, possession of an unregistered destructive device and intentional damage to a reproductive health services facility, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Two of the counts carry mandatory minimum sentences of five years in prison, it said.