Missouri Man Pleads Guilty to Arson at Mosque and Attempted Arson at Planned Parenthood
Jedediah Stout, 32, of Joplin, Missouri, pleaded guilty in the Western District of Missouri today to the arson of a Joplin mosque and two attempted arsons of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Joplin, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson of the Western District of Missouri.
Stout pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush of the Western District of Missouri to a four-count information that charges him with one count of damage to the Islamic Society of Joplin mosque, two counts of arson at a Planned Parenthood facility in Joplin and one count of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. He remains in federal custody without bond.
Stout, who told investigators that he did not like Islam as a religion, pleaded guilty to setting a fire that destroyed the Islamic Society of Joplin mosque on Aug. 6, 2012. The mosque served families from neighboring states, many of whom provided funding for the operation of the mosque. As a direct result of the fire, many donations made during the Muslim holy period of Ramadan were destroyed.
Stout admitted that he committed the mosque arson using the same kind of incendiary device he later used in two Planned Parenthood arson attempts.
On Oct. 3 and Oct. 4, 2013, Stout was captured on surveillance cameras as he made consecutive attempts to set fire to the Planned Parenthood facility in Joplin. In both instances, he threw items containing an accelerant onto the roof of the facility and then ignited material attached to the accelerant. Stout was apprehended soon after the Planned Parenthood arson attempts. He admitted to investigators that he was responsible for both Planned Parenthood arson attempts and for the mosque arson. Stout further admitted that he targeted Planned Parenthood because they provide reproductive health care services.
“In pleading guilty, Stout admitted that he attempted to burn the Planned Parenthood because it provides reproductive health services, and that he set fire to the Islamic Society of Joplin mosque because of its religious character,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Gupta. “The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute violence against reproductive health services providers and crimes motivated by religious animus.”
“I am committed to protecting and preserving the Constitutional rights of all Americans,” said U.S. Attorney Dickinson. “The Islamic Society of Joplin and Planned Parenthood were direct victims of these acts of arson, along with those whom they serve. But our entire community is impacted by hate crimes that strike at the heart of the principles by which we all live in a democracy. We will not tolerate the use of violence by anyone who threatens others in the free exercise of their religious and civil rights.”
Under federal statutes, Stout is subject to a maximum sentence of 61 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.
The case was investigated by the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Missouri State Highway Patrol; and the Joplin Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Kelleher of the Western District of Missouri in conjunction with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.