HomeTop StoriesMan gets 10 years for bombing Peoria Planned Parenthood

Man gets 10 years for bombing Peoria Planned Parenthood

CHICAGO (CBS) — A central Illinois man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and must pay back $1.45 million for setting fire to a Planned Parenthood facility in Peoria in January, after pleading guilty to federal charges less than a month after his arrest.

Tyler Massengill, 32, of Chillicothe, admitted in February that he set fire to Planned Parenthood Peoria Health Center on Jan. 15 using an explosive device. Federal Investigators have said he attacked the center because he was upset that his girlfriend had an abortion three years ago.

A firefighter was injured in extinguishing the flames. No one was in the building at the time of the fire.

Suspect arrested in Illinois Planned Parenthood clinic fire
Security video of a suspect outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Peoria, Illinois, set on fire on January 15, 2023.

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Federal prosecutors had said surveillance video showed Massengill walking up to the building with a detergent-sized bottle, lighting a rag on one end of the bottle, before smashing a window and sending the bottle into the building. placed, and run away.

Additional surveillance footage showed a white pickup truck with red doors parking nearby just before the fire and leaving shortly after. After the footage was released to the pressa tipster passed the truck’s license plate number to the Peoria Police Department, who traced the truck to Massengill.

About a week after the fire, a woman in Sparland, about 25 miles north of Peoria, told local authorities that Massengill showed up at her home the day after the fire and asked that his truck be kept in her garage and to paint the red doors white for $300.

Massengill stayed at her house that night, and the next day her father drove Massengill and her boyfriend to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, then took Massengill to his father’s home in Chillicothe, about 20 miles north of Peoria.

When the woman called Massengill to come get his truck the next day, he told her he had seen his truck on the news and claimed, “I didn’t do it, I didn’t do it.”

Peoria planned parentage fire
An arson attack at the Planned Parenthood facility in Peoria, Illinois, on January 15, 2023, caused more than $1 million in damage.


Massengill later called the Peoria Police Department and said he wanted to talk about the Planned Parenthood facility fire. Initially, during an interview with police and the FBI, Massengill denied responsibility for the fire, claiming that he went to Peoria on January 15 and had two men borrow his truck.

He later confessed to setting the fire and told investigators he had been dating a girlfriend three years earlier, and while he was working in Alaska, his girlfriend called him from Peoria to tell him she had become pregnant, and chose to have an abortion, which upset him.

According to the allegations, Massengill said he “heard or saw something that reminded him of the abortion” the day he set the fire, and he became upset, broke the window of the Planned Parenthood facility and placed a burning container inside . He also confirmed that he later drove his truck to a woman’s house and asked her to paint the doors white.

Massengill also told investigators he believed that if the burning of Planned Parenthood caused “a slight delay” in someone receiving services there, it would have been “all worth it” according to the allegations.

He pleaded guilty to federal charges in February and on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge James E. Shadid sentenced him to 10 years in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, according to court documents. Massengill was also ordered to pay $1.45 million in restitution for the damage caused by the fire.

Planned Parenthood of Illinois said after the fire it would cost more than $1 million to rebuild the Peoria facility. The rebuilt facility is expected to open in early 2024.

“Today justice has been served and a strong message has been sent that acts of violence against Planned Parenthood of Illinois will not be tolerated,” Planned Parenthood of Illinois President and CEO Jennifer Welch said in a statement Tuesday. “If someone attacks one of our health centers, they are doing more than just damaging a building. They are robbing the community of essential sexual and reproductive health services, such as contraception, STD testing and treatment, cancer screening and gender affirming care. We stand in community solidarity in Peoria who continues to heal from this traumatic event.”

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