U.S. News

Texan pleads guilty in abortion clinic bomb case

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A Texas man pleaded guilty on Friday to attempting to bomb an Austin women’s clinic where abortions are performed, U.S. officials said.

Under a plea agreement with prosecutors, Paul Evans, 27, faces up to 40 years in federal prison for the April 25 crime in which he placed a bomb in front of the clinic, but it did not explode.

No motive for the attempted bombing was disclosed.

According to a statement from U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, Evans admitted he bought materials for the bomb on April 24 at a hardware store in the eastern Texas town of Lufkin and later that day at an Austin store.

The next day he put the bomb, loaded with 2 pounds (0.91 kg) of nails, in the parking lot of the Austin Women’s Health Center.

A clinic employee spotted the suspicious package and called police, who defused the bomb that they said packed enough power to kill or badly injure anyone within 100 feet.

Sutton said the bomb did not explode because “the triggering wire did not make contact with the explosive material.”

Evans has been in jail since his arrest on April 27. No sentencing date has been set.

He had previous convictions for aggravated robbery and burglary, officials said.

That was the first bombing attempt this year at an abortion clinic, according to the National Abortion Federation, which tracks violence against abortion providers.

Four incidents of attempted bombing or arson were reported in 2006, the NAF said. More than 40 abortion clinic bombings have occurred since 1977, with the last reported in 2001.