Pensacola, Florida (PNJ) -- A man was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for the arson of a Pensacola reproductive health facility today.
Bobby Joe Rogers, 41, of Pensacola was sentenced for burning down the American Family Planning Clinic in Pensacola on New Year's Day.
Chief United States Judge M. Casey Rodgers handed down the sentence.
"This defendant destroyed this clinic because of its lawful work in providing reproductive health services," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "Such violent extremism will not be tolerated. The Department of Justice will continue to vigorously prosecute interference with services provided by the health community."
Rogers pleaded guilty in July of setting a fire at the American Family Planning clinic, 6770 N. Ninth Ave., on Jan. 1.
Local, state and federal officers worked together to solve the firebombing of the clinic.
Rogers, who has a history of mental problems, underwent an evaluation to determine whether he was competent to stand trial after his arrest. He was found competent to proceed to trial.
Rogers is an eighth-grade dropout who grew up in Jefferson County, Ala.
Rogers admitted to setting fire to the clinic after his arrest earlier this year, according to an affidavit.
Rogers explained to investigators that he has a "strong disbelief in abortion," according to the affidavit.
He said that feeling was further fueled when he was at the clinic with anti-abortion protesters and saw a young woman go into the facility, according to the affidavit.
He told investigators that he went to the clinic late at night between Dec. 31 and early Jan 1.
He said he filled a beer bottle with gas and used the shirt as a wick.
Rogers stood behind a tree in the rear of the clinic and threw the beer bottle against the side of the building, according to a court affidavit.
The clinic, which was heavily damaged by the fire, was razed in early July.
The clinic, formerly known as The Ladies Center and as Community Healthcare Center, has been the target of violence over the years.
In 1984, Matthew Goldsby and James Simmons bombed the facility and two doctors' offices where abortions were provided.
In 1994, protester Paul Hill killed John Britton, a doctor who provided abortions, and James Barrett, a volunteer who escorted patients, as they arrived in the clinic parking lot. Barrett's wife, June, was wounded.