Former Marine sentenced to 9 years in prison for firebombing Planned Parenthood clinic

A neo-Nazi former U.S. Marine who firebombed a Planned Parenthood clinic in California in an act of "hateful extremism" — and planned attacks on a LGBTQ event and on Jewish families — was sentenced to nine years in federal prison Monday.

U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney said Chance Brannon, 24, "engaged in cruel and indefensible domestic terrorism" while he was stationed at Camp Pendleton.

Brannon pleaded guilty in November to one count of conspiracy, one count of malicious destruction of property by fire and explosives for the clinic attack in 2022 and one count of possession of an unregistered destructive device.

Brannon, of San Juan Capistrano, was also told to pay $1,000 in restitution. He has been in federal custody since he was arrested and charged last year.

Mehtab Syed, acting assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, said law enforcement efforts prevented more acts of domestic terrorism.

"Mr. Brannon’s deep-rooted hatred and extremist views inspired him to target individuals or groups who did not conform to his neo-Nazi worldview and, in one case, led him to carry out a violent attack which could have killed innocent people," he said.

Burn marks on the exterior of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Costa Mesa, Calif., on March 13, 2022. (U.S. District Court for the Central District of Calif.)
Burn marks on the exterior of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Costa Mesa, Calif., on March 13, 2022. (U.S. District Court for the Central District of Calif.)

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement that the Molotov cocktail attack on the Planned Parenthood clinic in Costa Mesa was part of a "hate-fueled agenda" and "was designed to terrorize patients seeking reproductive healthcare and the people who provide it."

Brannon and two co-defendants — Tibet Ergul, 22, and Xavier Batten, 21 — conspired to use a Molotov cocktail to destroy a commercial property, the U.S. attorney's office said in a statement.

"Brannon considered various targets, including the Anti-Defamation League office in San Diego, but ultimately chose to target a Planned Parenthood clinic in Costa Mesa to scare pregnant women, deter doctors and staff from providing abortion services, and encourage similar violent acts," the statement said.

In the attack in March 2022, the Planned Parenthood clinic's entrance was set alight by Brannon and Ergul, but no one was hurt. The pair returned hours later to review their work, the U.S. attorney's office said. Around 30 appointments at the clinic had to be rescheduled.

In a sentencing memorandum, the government said Brannon praised Adolf Hitler and told fellow Marines that "all Jews deserve to die." He "took matters into his own hands, weaponizing fear and intimidation to achieve his political ends," it said.

Then, in June 2022, after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending 50 years of constitutional protection of abortion access, the court heard that Brannon and Ergul had planned a second attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic — which was abandoned because of increased police presence at abortion centers.

The pair also "discussed starting a race war by attacking an electrical substation" and taking out the power grid of Orange County, the attorney's office said. "Can we just be done with elections and have the race war already," he texted a friend, the sentencing memorandum said.

A file including a plan for that and a list of required gear was kept on a thumb drive disguised as a military-style necklace, the statement said.

On the gear list was a rifle with "Total [N-word] Death" written in Cyrillic and a recording of the 2019 mosque shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which a white supremacist terrorist murdered 51 people and injured dozens more. The Christchurch attack has provided inspiration for multiple white nationalist terrorism plots.

Last summer, Brannon and Ergul also discussed attacking Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on the night it celebrated LGBTQ pride — they were arrested two days before the event.

Also before his arrest, Brannon was planning to rob Jewish households in the Hollywood Hills, actions that prosecutors said "would at worst harm or even kill real victims." At the time of his arrest, Brannon possessed a short-barreled rifle and two silencers, which he had not registered with the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.

Batten and Ergul separately pleaded guilty this year and will have their sentencing hearings on May 13 and May 30, respectively.

This article was originally published on