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Abortion Foe To Plead Guilty To String Of Clinic Arsons

Sun., June 4, 1995

A woman who shot a Kansas doctor who performs abortions has agreed to plead guilty next week in cases alleging that she set fires at abortion clinics in Oregon, California, Idaho and Nevada, The Oregonian reported Saturday.

Rachelle “Shelley” Shannon of Grants Pass is serving a 10-year prison term for shooting and injuring Dr. George Tiller in Wichita in August 1993.

Federal grand juries in Portland and Sacramento, Calif., indicted Shannon on 30 charges in October, alleging she was involved in eight arsons as well as the injection of a foul-smelling acid into walls of two abortion clinics.

Shannon previously has claimed knowledge of unsolved firebomb attacks on two Montana clinics, but she has not been charged in connection with them.

The Blue Mountain Women’s Clinic in Missoula was destroyed March 30, 1993, and the Planned Parenthood Clinic in Helena was heavily damaged on Jan. 18, 1992.

Shannon, 39, is scheduled to appear in a Portland courtroom Wednesday, the newspaper reported.

Court records reveal no details of the agreement.

Court officials transferred the Sacramento case to Portland this week after Shannon and her attorney, Andrew Bates, signed a document saying she wished to plead guilty, the newspaper reported.

Bates did not return telephone messages, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen L. Peifer said he could not discuss the case.

The attacks occurred from April 1992 to May 1993.

She has been held in Multnomah County jails since she was returned to Oregon in November 1994.

Bates filed documents in court last week saying that federal agents searching her home in September 1993 had seized “incriminating evidence, including ‘confessions’ to various arsons against abortion clinics.”

Bates also wrote that agents from the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms improperly obtained incriminating statements from Shannon last year by continuing to question her in jail after she said she should first talk with her attorney.


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