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Jail time for clinic-fire suspect

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A court gavel
A court gavel

APPLETON, Wis (WSAU)   A Fox Valley man was sentenced to 11 years in prison yesterday, for starting a small fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic near Appleton. 50-year-old Francis Grady of Kaukauna was found guilty in October by a federal jury of arson and criminal property damage. His lawyer, Tom Phillip, asked for the minimum sentence of five years. He said Grady only took 47-cents worth of gasoline to the abortion-and-reproductive health clinic last April – and therefore, the crime should be considered more of a vandalism than an arson case.

But Karen Kuhn of Planned Parenthood said the fire was an act of terrorism. Grady said he didn’t intend it that way – and he claimed he was incompetent, because he was quote, “involuntarily intoxicated.” He claimed to have heard voices which told him to set the fire. At his trial, he said he quote, “saw souls coming out” of the clinic – an apparent reference to the babies that were aborted.

Judge William Griesbach said Grady has bi-polar and personality disorders, and is a drug-and-alcohol abuser. Grady faced up to 21 years behind bars, but the judge agreed it shouldn’t be that long. But Griesbach said Grady needed to be in prison to be sure that he stays on his medications. And if he wants to raise mental competency issues, the judge said he should do it during the appeal process.

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