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Suspect in Missouri Clinic Arson Now Implicated in Mosque Firebombing

By Bill Morlin on October 23, 2013 - 1:25 pm, Posted in Anti-Abortion, Anti-Muslim, Extremist Crime, Hate Crime

A suspect arrested this month for twice attempting to burn down a Joplin, Mo., Planned Parenthood clinic now has been implicated in last year’s firebombing that destroyed a mosque in the same community.

Jedediah Stout, 29, an Iraq war veteran who described himself as “sort of homeless,” was charged last week in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Missouri with attempted arson of a building used in interstate commerce. He is being held without bond as a flight risk and danger to the community.

Stout was arrested by police on Oct. 4 walking on railroad tracks in Joplin, just a few blocks from a Planned Parenthood clinic where someone attempted to throw burning backpacks on the roof of the building two days in a row, court documents say.

After admitting involvement in those arson attempts, the defendant “confessed to setting fires at the Islamic Society of Joplin’s building on July 4, 2012, and on Aug. 7, 2012,” a motion for the suspect’s detention says. The mosque was completely destroyed in the second attempt.

Stout is a U.S. Army veteran who served as a combat engineer from October 2002 to July 2005, and was deployed to Iraq for a year beginning in September 2003, the Los Angeles Times reported in yesterday’s editions.

On social media sites, Stout identifies himself “as a politically conservative Christian and a struggling veteran,” the newspaper reported.

Stout has not yet been charged with the arson of the mosque or a hate crime, but additional formal charges are expected to be contained in a federal indictment after the case is presented to a grand jury.

Federal investigators previously said the mosque arson appeared to be a hate crime, but they were without suspects until Stout was arrested. That occurred after an employee of Planned Parenthood arrived for work about 6 p.m. on Oct. 3, parking at the rear entrance. Exiting her vehicle, the employee “noticed an object located on the roof of the facility and a partially burned piece of material located on the ground nearby,” court documents say.

Police and FBI agents later found a plastic bottle containing a suspected flammable liquid and a partially burned backpack tied to a camouflage-colored rope, covered with a plastic sleeve. Stout’s fingerprints later were found on the plastic bottle.

A day later, shortly before midnight on Oct. 4, a second similar attempt to firebomb the clinic was captured on surveillance cameras, but the object thrown on the roof was completely burned. A short time after that fire was reported, Joplin police stopped and arrested Stout for trespassing as he walked along railroad tracks about five blocks from the scene.

FBI agents, using grand jury subpoenas, subsequently obtained surveillance camera footage and sales-receipt records from a Wal-Mart store in Joplin, tying Stout to the Oct. 1 purchase of a backpack matching the UPC Code of the backpack recovered from the roof of the Planned Parenthood facility, court documents say.

The suspect confessed to the mosque arson a day after his arrest, the documents say.

Imam Lahmuddin of the Islamic Society of Joplin told the Los Angeles Times that he was relieved after the confession. “At this point, we are grateful that law enforcement has been able to arrest him, and at least this will stop him from continuing what he had been doing,” Lahmuddin told the newspaper.

The Islamic Society has raised $600,000 and is now finalizing plans for a new mosque in Joplin, Lahmuddin said.

“We always feel welcome here,” Lahmuddin told the newspaper. “As you can see, the reaction of the community … after the fire, they’re very supportive and encouraged us to rebuild in Joplin.”

  • Mike Dellapia

    there have been individual cases of terrorism committed on this soil by Christians than by Muslims. Muslims killed more people, but the attacks by Christians are commonplace enough that we barely bother reporting on them anymore – like in Northern Ireland. There is a bombing or bombing attempt at least once a week; they barely make the papers, though, anymore. Of course, if the New IRA were Muslims, the attacks would make the paper.

  • concernedcitizen

    The Army really needs to look into the ideology that is being embraced by some of it’s members which brings them to commit such atrocious hate crimes. There are some that view their Army training with outside and furtive motives that suggest they use that training to start race wars here in the states.

    I would think that Army intelligence would be able to weed out those individuals and get them the help they need.

    I don’t believe that the American public at large wants to be paying to train men and women in the military to start wars at home against innocent American citizens.

  • Deborah McGeorge

    And just to be clear, if they did do abortions, it would still be equally wrong for this man to do what he did. I am pro-choice, but I also care about accuracy. Thank you.

  • Deborah McGeorge

    This Planned Parenthood does not do abortions. It isn’t an “abortion clinic.” It’s a women’s health clinic. They provide vital women’s health services to poor women throughout the area. I hope you will issue a correction to this story. I am a long time SPLC supporter, and I really appreciate the work you do, but this is sloppy reporting and is a problem for me. The mistaken notion that PP does mostly abortions is probably why this man targeted them in the first place. Please correct this story so you aren’t spreading misinformation. Thank you.

  • Kiwiwriter

    I have little sympathy for this firebomber, but does seem to have a toxic cocktail of issues…a socially and politically conservative Christian who ought in Iraq, returning to struggle and find himself “sort of homeless,” whatever that means.

    Regrettably, he chose to solve his problems through bloody violence, which is appalling.

  • Sandi

    It doesn’t matter if the clinic performs abortions or not.

  • Whitney LEe

    The Joplin clinic does not perform abortions.

  • JCF

    Oops, that should say “Justice for those attacked”, above.

  • JCF

    Tragic.

    Just for those attacked…but merciful rehabilitation, I pray, for Stout.