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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 21, 2019

Columbia Man Pleads Guilty to Arson at Planned Parenthood Clinic

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A Columbia, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to the arson at the Columbia Health Center (operated by Planned Parenthood Great Plains) on Feb. 10, 2019.

Wesley Brian Kaster, 42, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Willie J. Epps Jr. to one count of maliciously using explosive materials to damage a building owned by an organization that receives federal financial assistance, and one count of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. Kaster has remained in federal custody without bond since his arrest on March 2, 2019.

By pleading guilty today, Kaster admitted that he manufactured a Molotov cocktail on Feb. 10, 2019. On the same day, he broke the glass in the north entry door of the Columbia Health Center at 711 N. Providence Road and threw the Molotov cocktail into the facility. At approximately 4:10 a.m., the Columbia Fire Department arrived on the scene, investigated the damage caused by the explosive device, and collected evidence.

Kaster admitted today that he took these actions because Planned Parenthood provided reproductive health services at the facility.

Under federal statutes, Kaster is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 21 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 United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by the Columbia, Mo., Police Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and the FBI.

Updated November 21, 2019