Guilty plea expected in attempt to bomb abortion clinic

October 27, 2006|By Matthew Dolan | Matthew Dolan,SUN REPORTER

The Prince George's County man charged with trying to bomb a College Park abortion clinic is scheduled to plead guilty today in federal court in Greenbelt, court records show.

Robert Francis Weiler Jr., 25, was arrested in June at a Western Maryland highway rest stop.

This afternoon, he is expected to plead guilty to possession of an unregistered firearm, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and illegally blocking the entrance to a clinic providing reproductive services.

Authorities reported that they found a bomb in one of his friends' homes in Riverdale. The suspected explosive device was partially detonated after police technicians were unable to disable the bomb with a robot.

The plea agreement, which must be approved by U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow, contains a recommendation for a five-year prison sentence, according to a source familiar with the case.

The Maryland U.S. Attorney's office, as well as Weiler's attorney Michael T. Citaramanis, declined to comment this week.

Before negotiating a plea, Weiler's attorney argued that his client's statement to federal agents as well as a search of his belongings at his parents' home should have been thrown out of court because they were obtained illegally.

But the judge never ruled on the issue before the two sides reached the plea agreement.

Federal officials said that Weiler's parents told them that their son had stolen money from them. They told the officials they were worried that he'd use the funds to finance an anti-abortion attack and reported their concerns to authorities.

At the time of his arrest, a .40-caliber handgun that Weiler is alleged to have stolen from a friend was in the glove compartment of his car. Weiler intended to use the bomb and gun to "shoot doctors who provided abortions," at the Metropolitan Family Planning Institute on Greenbelt Road, according to an affidavit filed in the court by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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