Authorities: Man charged in fire at Florida clinic says he was motivated by dislike for abortion
Federal prosecutors say a homeless man charged on Thursday with the New Year’s Day firebombing of a family planning clinic targeted by near-daily protests had acted out of “strong disbelief” in abortion and stood by just long enough to see crackling, popping flames spread.
Bobby Joe Rogers, 41, has been charged with one count of damaging a building by fire or explosive and was being held at a Florida Panhandle jail after the blaze early Sunday gutted the American Family Planning clinic in Pensacola. He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Rogers, who has an arrest record spanning nine states from the Southeast to the Midwest, told investigators he intentionally set the fire around New Year’s Eve using a firebomb fashioned from a gasoline-filled beer bottle that used an old shirt as a wick. No one was hurt in the fire.
According to the affidavit, Roger’s told investigators he had an aversion to abortion and said he had recently witnessed an anti-abortion protest near the clinic that further prompted his actions.