Man sentenced to 63 months in prison for mosque fire, other attempted arsons

KANSAS CITY, Miss., Oct. 18 (UPI) — A Missouri man who set fire to a mosque and attempted to set fire to a Planned Parenthood facility twice was sentenced to 63 months in prison for the crimes on Tuesday in federal court.

Jedediah Stout in April pleaded guilty to causing damage at the Islamic Society of Joplin mosque and two attempted arsons at a local Planned Parenthood, and was sentenced Tuesday to 63 months in jail, $701,971 in restitution and three years of supervised probation once he is released from prison.

Stout told investigators of the crimes that he set the mosque fire because he does not like the Muslim religion and attempted to do the same at Planned Parenthood because they provide reproductive health care services.

“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,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “The Justice Department will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute these crimes as we strive to protect the safety and diversity of our communities.”

Stout told investigators he set a fire that destroyed the mosque by lighting material attached to an accelerant on August 6, 2012. The mosque, which served people from neighboring states as well as those in Joplin, was destroyed in the blaze, as were many donations made to the mosque during the holy period of Ramadan.

Stout also admitted in his guilty plea to attempted to burn down Planned Parenthood of Joplin using the same accelerant, which he threw onto the roof of the facility after igniting the material. Surveillance video captured both arson attempts, which led to his eventual arrest for the crimes.

Stout initially entered a not guilty plea when he was charged with attempted arsons at Planned Parenthood but later admitted he’d tried to start fires at the facility.

Prosecutors in the case say the severity of his punishments should underscore the results of infringing on people’s rights to practice religion or seek medical treatment.

“No American should fear being the victim of violence simply for exercising their constitutional rights,” said U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson.

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