Kimberly P. Yow

Kimberly P. Yow

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Wisconsin man agrees to plead guilty to firebombing offices of pro-life group

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A man accused of firebombing an anti-abortion office in Wisconsin last year has agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge of damaging property with explosives.

Online court records show Hridindu Roychowdhury, of Madison, filed a signed plea agreement Monday in the Western District of Wisconsin. He will face up to 20 years in prison but prosecutors have agreed to recommend the judge reduce his sentence because he has accepted responsibility for the crime. A judge is set to consider whether to accept the agreement at a hearing on Dec. 1.

According to court documents, someone broke a window at the Madison office of Wisconsin Family Action on May 8, 2022, six days after news outlets reported that the U.S. Supreme Court was set to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

WISCONSIN MAN CHARGED WITH FIREBOMBING OFFICES OF PRO-LIFE GROUP

WISCONSIN MAN CHARGED WITH FIREBOMBING PRO-LIFE GROUP’S OFFICE PLEADS NOT GUILTY

The reports sparked abortion rights supporters to mount protests across the country. Two Catholic churches in Colorado were vandalized in the days leading up to the Madison firebombing. And someone threw Molotov cocktails into an anti-abortion organization’s office in a suburb of Salem, Oregon, several days later.

The U.S. Supreme Court did indeed overturn Roe v. Wade a little more than a month later, putting Wisconsin’s 1849 ban on abortion back in play. A Dane County judge this past August ruled that the state’s ban doesn’t apply to medical abortions, prompting Planned Parenthood to resume offering abortions in the state weeks later.

Someone threw two Molotov cocktails through the broken window, setting a book case on fire, and spraypainted “If abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either” on the office’s outside wall.

DNA FROM HALF-EATEN BURRITO TIES EX-WISCONSIN DOCTORAL STUDENT TO PRO-LIFE CENTER FIREBOMBING ATTACK

Firefighters extinguished the fire. Investigators pulled Roychowdhury’s DNA as well as two other people’s DNA from the Molotov cocktails and the broken window. DNA that investigators pulled from a half-eaten burrito that Roychowdhury threw away matched one of the profiles. Court documents do not say whether investigators have used the two unknown DNA profiles to identify anyone.

Police arrested Roychowdhury at Boston International Airport in March 2023. He had a one-way ticket to Guatemala, according to prosecutors.

Roychowdhury’s attorneys, Joseph Bugni and Alex Vlisides, didn’t immediately respond to an email Tuesday seeking comment.

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