GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney Mark Totten announced today that U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney sentenced Joshua Brereton of Paw Paw, Michigan to 60 months in prison, followed by two years’ supervised release, for maliciously setting fire to the Planned Parenthood clinic in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Maloney also ordered Brereton to pay $32,699.45 in restitution for the damage he caused.
“While Americans may disagree strongly on matters of law and policy, violence is never an acceptable means to settle our disputes,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. “Today and every day, my office will hold wrongdoers accountable for political violence.” He continued: “This particular act of violence was an attack on a health care clinic. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan is committed to protecting access to reproductive services and we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to defend those rights protected by federal law.”
“Using an act of violence like arson to express one’s anger toward an individual or business is never acceptable,“ said ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge Craig Kailimai, “Today’s sentencing best represents ATF’s tireless commitment to work with our Federal, State, and Local partnerships to bring to justice those who seek to prey upon our communities.”
“It is crucial that those individuals who desire reproductive health services be able to obtain them in an environment that is free of interference, intimidation, and fear,” said James A. Tarasca, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan. “We will continue to work closely with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to hold responsible anyone who engages in criminal activity to address their differences of opinion.”
"The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety appreciates the partnership with our federal partners. Today, that partnership helped bring along justice in our city,” said KDPS Chief Dave Boysen. "Thank you to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Michigan for helping bring Joshua Brereton to justice after his attempt to light a Planned Parenthood on fire. Acts of violence, whether they are politically motivated or not, cannot be allowed to happen in our community."
At sentencing, Judge Maloney noted the serious nature of the crime and found that Brereton “engaged in a concentrated effort to commit the arson.” Judge Maloney also focused on the need for general deterrence in cases like this, noting that others who might commit a similar violent crime need to understand that a substantial sentence will be meted out upon conviction.
Brereton’s conviction followed a joint investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety (KDPS). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie Carowan.