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Press Release

Florida Man Sentenced to 3½ Years in Federal Prison for Helping Two Orange County Men Firebomb Planned Parenthood Clinic

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California

SANTA ANA, California – A Florida man was sentenced today to 42 months in federal prison for helping the perpetrators of the March 2022 firebombing of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Orange County construct a Molotov cocktail.

Xavier Batten, 21, of Brooksville, Florida, was sentenced by United States District Judge Cormac J. Carney, who also ordered him to pay $1,000 in restitution and imposed a three-year term of supervised release – to follow after Batten finishes serving his prison sentence – permitting suspicion-less searches of Batten by law enforcement.

At today’s hearing, Judge Carney said Batten had committed a “cowardly crime” that showed “no empathy for women and their rights.”

Batten pleaded guilty on January 19 to one felony count of possessing an unregistered destructive device and one misdemeanor count of intentionally damaging a reproductive health services facility, in violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. He has been in federal custody since July 2023.

In February and March of 2022, Batten conspired with Chance Brannon, 24, of San Juan Capistrano, who at the time was an active-duty member of the United States Marine Corps stationed at Camp Pendleton, to damage a reproductive health clinic that was open to the public.

On March 12, 2022, Brannon and Tibet Ergul, 22, of Irvine, met in Ergul’s garage and constructed a Molotov cocktail, an incendiary and destructive device which they did not register with the National Firearm Registration and Transfer Record. Batten, who was in Florida at the time, helped Brannon by advising him on how to build the Molotov cocktail, knowing Brannon intended to use the device to firebomb a reproductive health clinic.

During the early morning of March 13, 2022, Brannon and Ergul drove to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Costa Mesa, ignited the Molotov cocktail, and threw it at the clinic entrance, intentionally starting a fire, before fleeing. The damage to the clinic forced it to temporarily close and to reschedule approximately 30 patients’ appointments. Within minutes of firebombing the clinic, Brannon texted Batten to inform him that their plan had been successful and Batten congratulated Brannon on his success.

Prosecutors argued in a sentencing memorandum that Batten has a history of threatening to commit mass shootings and his communications and internet searches reflect a violent and racially motivated ideology. In May 2022, two months after Batten helped orchestrate Brannon’s Planned Parenthood attack, Batten messaged Brannon for advice on how to “get away with” committing a similar attack against another fertility clinic, according to the prosecution’s sentencing memorandum. 

“[Batten’s] willingness to help his codefendants firebomb a healthcare clinic from afar, without being present to check for people or control the circumstances, reflects a seeming apathy to whether anyone would be hurt or killed as a result of his tutelage,” prosecutors argued in the sentencing memorandum.

On April 15, Judge Carney sentenced Brannon to nine years in federal prison for his role in the attack and for plotting other attacks – including an attack on the Orange County power grid in furtherance of a race war, an attack at Dodger Stadium during an LGBTQ+ pride night celebration, and the home invasions of Jewish residences in Los Angeles.

Brannon pleaded guilty in November 2023 to one count of conspiracy, one count of malicious destruction of property by fire and explosives, one count of possession of an unregistered destructive device, and one count of intentionally damaging a reproductive health services facility in violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.

Ergul pleaded guilty on February 29 to one felony count of conspiracy to damage an energy facility and one misdemeanor count of intentional damage to a reproductive health services facility. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 30.

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigated this matter. The Costa Mesa Police Department and the Costa Mesa Fire Department provided substantial assistance.

Assistant United States Attorney Kathrynne N. Seiden of the Terrorism and Export Crimes Section is prosecuting this case with substantial assistance from Trial Attorney Jacob Warren from the Justice Department’s National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.


Ciaran McEvoy
Public Information Officer
(213) 894-4465

Updated May 13, 2024

Civil Rights
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 24-112