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Idaho domestic terrorist released early from federal prison

Idaho domestic terrorist released early from federal prison

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Prison fence, jail

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — An Idaho man imprisoned for more than two decades for bombing a Planned Parenthood clinic and robbing a bank in Spokane Valley in 1996 walked free from federal custody this week.

Brian Ratigan, 61, of Sandpoint, Idaho, received credit for 23 years served in federal custody Wednesday, cutting short an original prison sentence that was scheduled to end in 2044.

Ratigan, along with three accomplices in the white supremacist Phineas Priesthood group, became eligible for new sentences after a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling found the law allowing longer prison sentences for violent felonies was unconstitutionally vague. The other three members are Charles Barbee, 68; Robert Berry, 66; and Jay Merrell, 74, all of Sandpoint, who will be resentenced shortly.

The Spokesman-Review says Ratigan denounced the radical beliefs of the Priesthood.

Federal prosecutors argued that Ratigan and the others remained dangerous based on their intent to kill many people with explosive devices left at the the Planned Parenthood clinic in Spokane Valley in July 1996. No one was injured in the blast.

Berry, Merrell and Barbee were tried separately and are serving life sentences due to additional charges stemming from the bombing of The Spokesman-Review newspaper offices in Spokane Valley and another bank robbery earlier in 1996.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


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