Former Marine 'Neo-Nazi' Sentenced to 9 Years in Prison for Firebombing of Planned Parenthood

Supporters of abortion rights cheer outside a Planned Parenthood clinic
Supporters of abortion rights cheer outside a Planned Parenthood clinic during a protest in West Hollywood, Calif., Friday, June 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

A former Marine was sentenced to nine years in prison on Monday after pleading guilty to firebombing a California Planned Parenthood clinic in 2022 while he was on active duty -- an act authorities called domestic terrorism.

Chance Brannon, 24, an ex-corporal stationed at Camp Pendleton at the time of the firebombing, also plotted to attack an Orange County power grid, a LGBTQ+ pride night celebration at Dodger Stadium and the invasion of Jewish homes in Los Angeles, according to the Department of Justice.

Brannon pleaded guilty in November to several charges: conspiracy; malicious destruction of property by fire and explosives; possession of an unregistered destructive device; and destruction of a reproductive health services facility.

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Several law enforcement entities were involved in the investigation, including the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, or NCIS.

"This case represents the successful interagency coordination between Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), Costa Mesa first responders, and the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force," the assistant special agent in charge, Michael Payne of the NCIS Marine West Field Office, said. "Such acts of terror in an attempt to [prevent] access to reproductive health services is intolerable."

In the early morning of March 13, 2022, Brannon and his co-defendant, Tibet Ergul of Irvine, California, threw a Molotov cocktail at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Orange County, California. Planned Parenthood is a reproductive care organization that provides health services, including pregnancy testing and abortions.

After the firebombing, Brannon texted another co-defendant, Xavier Batten of Florida, saying that the attack "was f*cking good." After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Brannon and Ergul planned on attacking another clinic, but decided not to after seeing law enforcement in the area. Batten began speaking with the FBI in September 2022, which Brannon scolded him for.

"Although he did not attack a second clinic, neither Mr. Brannon's desire to address his political grievances through violence nor his animosity towards women subsided," court records filed Monday said.

Batten and Ergul pleaded guilty earlier this year to criminal charges and are scheduled for sentencing on May 15 and May 30, respectively.

Brannon took to the internet to express desires to harm women, according to court records. A month before his arrest, he told a friend in the military that he "seriously considered raping a woman" one day, because the "bitch gave [him] lip in the parking lot and [he] had a flash of just pushing her over and raping her," according to court records.

Brannon and Ergul hoped to start a race war by attacking a power grid in California, according to court records. They stored plans on a thumb drive shaped like a military dog tag with the Marine motto "Semper Fidelis" on it. The thumb drive contained plans and a gear list for targeting the Southern California Edison substation as well as recordings of the 2019 Christchurch Mosque shooting when a white supremacist killed 51 people in New Zealand, injuring dozens of others.

When he was arrested in 2022, Brannon was in possession of an M70 rifle with the term "Total N*gger Death" written in Cyrillic on it. He also had two illegal silencers, an unmarked short-barrel rifle with no serial number, and a handgun that contained unserialized components. He discussed "cleans[ing]" the U.S. of certain ethnic groups and told fellow Marines that "all Jews deserve to die," according to authorities.

"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," Acting Assistant Director in Charge Mehtab Syed of the FBI Los Angeles Field Office said in a press release Monday.

Brannon and Ergul discussed and researched attacking an LGBTQ+ pride event at Dodger Stadium and "rob[bing] Jews" through "home invasions in the Hollywood hills," according to court records. attempted to contact Brannon's listed attorney, but did not immediately hear back by publication.

Editor’s note: This story was corrected to accurately reflect services provided by Planned Parenthood.

Related: Former Marine Pleads Guilty to Firebombing Planned Parenthood While on Active Duty

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