Plea deal in attacks on California Planned Parenthood clinic
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Southern California man who fired a BB gun from his car at Planned Parenthood in Pasadena on at least 11 occasions admitted he was trying to intimidate the doctors, staff and patients because the clinic provided abortions, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.
Richard Royden Chamberlin, 54, agreed to plead guilty in U.S. District Court to two crimes from the drive-by shootings, according to court documents.
No one was hurt in the attacks between June 2020 and May 2021 but one person waiting for a patient was nearly struck by a pellet, staff was terrified and the building was damaged by the shots, according to authorities.
Pasadena police stopped Chamberlin as he drove away from the clinic on May 7, 2021, and found he had eight BB guns — including some that looked like assault rifles — and a backpack containing a loaded .22-caliber pistol, prosecutors said.
“During and after his arrest, defendant admitted that he had an animus against the clinic and that he had previously gone ‘undercover’ in an effort to ‘expose’ the clinic for its work related to the provision of reproductive health services, including services related to the termination of pregnancies,” the plea agreement said.
Chamberlin, who was convicted in Arizona in 2012 of felony attempted transportation of a narcotic for sale, agreed on Nov. 23 to plead guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and forcible interference with the obtaining and provision of reproductive health services.
Chamberlin is scheduled to plead guilty on Dec. 19. He faces up to 10 years in prison for the gun violation and a year in prison for violating the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act..
“This is a big moment for Planned Parenthood health care providers and patients everywhere,” Sheri Bonner, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Pasadena & San Gabriel Valley said in a statement. “It sends a strong message that any harmful actions against our facilities warrant federal action and will not be tolerated.”
Chamberlin was represented by the federal public defender’s office, which had no comment on the agreement.
Prosecutors said Chamberlin had tried to get rid of other firearms by selling four to a consignment store and transferring ownership of eight others to a neighbor. Items discovered during a subsequent search of his home included thousands of rounds of ammunition, a dozen BB guns and documents about Planned Parenthood.
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