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Massengill pleads guilty to Peoria Planned Parenthood arson charges

Screenshot 2023-01-25 141327.jpg
U.S. Department of Justice
Authorities said the suspect in the Peoria Planned Parenthood clinic arson (2 left photos) bears a resemblance to the mugshot (right) and Facebook photos of Tyler Wayne Massengill, 32, of Chillicothe.

The 32-year-old Chillicothe man charged with setting fire to the Peoria Planned Parenthood clinic last month is pleading guilty.

Tyler Wayne Massengill entered the plea before Magistrate Judge Jonathan Hawley during an appearance in federal court on Thursday.

Massengill faces a mandatory prison sentence of five years, with a maximum sentence of 20 years. The charges also could result in a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Massengill is scheduled for a sentencing hearing July 6 in Peoria.

Prosecutors said Massengill on Jan. 15 carried a laundry detergent-sized bottle up to the clinic at 2709 N. Knoxville, lit a rag on fire on one end of the bottle, broke out a window, and placed the container inside before running away.

Court documents say Massengill later told investigators his actions may have been "all worth it" if he caused "a little delay" in someone obtaining services from Planned Parenthood.

The Peoria clinic doesn't provide surgical abortions, but does offer abortion pills, sexually-transmitted infection testing and treatment, and other services.

The Planned Parenthood clinic is expected to remain closed for months. The organization says it will need more than $1 million to reopen the facility.

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Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.