Missouri man gets five years in prison for mosque, clinic fires

Jedediah Stout, 32, of Joplin, Missouri, pleased guilty in April to setting fire to the Islamic Society of Joplin mosque in August 2012. He also pleaded guilty to targeting Joplin’s Planned Parenthood Clinic in two separate but unsuccessful arson attacks in October 2013, according to a statement from the U.S. Justice Department.

Stout’s lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.

Stout told investigators he did not like Islam as a religion and he targeted the Planned Parenthood clinic because it provided reproductive health services, prosecutors said.

“This sentence sends a clear message that violence targeting where people worship or access reproductive health care services violates federal law and carries severe consequences,” Vanita Gupta, the head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, said in the statement.

The Justice Department said that Stout would also have to pay nearly $702,000 in restitution.

Joplin is located in Missouri’s southwest corner, around 150 miles (241 km) south of Kansas City. A post on the Joplin mosque’s website at the time of the fire said that it was the only Muslim house of worship within a 50-mile radius.

Stout threw a backpack containing an accelerant onto the Planned Parenthood facility’s roof and then lit material attached to the accelerant on Oct. 3 and Oct. 4, 2013, prosecutors said. Both of the arson attempts were captured on surveillance video and Stout was subsequently apprehended.

Stout told investigators he used the same type of incendiary device that destroyed the mosque on Aug. 6, 2012, prosecutors said.

(Reporting by Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago, Editing by Ben Klayman and Alan Crosby)

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