FBI found violent, antisemitic leanings in background of Florida man who helped plan California Planned Parenthood firebombing

A Florida man who helped a U.S. Marine and another man from Orange County build a Molotov cocktail they used to firebomb a Planned Parenthood in Costa Mesa two years ago was obsessed with violence and previously had threatened to commit mass shootings, court documents show.

Xavier Batten, 21, of Spring Hill, Florida, pleaded guilty in January to one count each of possessing an explosive device, a felony, and intentionally damaging an abortion provider, a misdemeanor.

Judge Cormac J. Carney sentenced Batten on Monday, May 13 to three years and five months in federal prison. Carney also ordered Batten to serve three years of probation and pay a $1,000 fine.

Batten was not present for the March 22, 2022 firebombing. But through text messages, he advised his two co-defendants — Chance Brannon, 24, of San Juan Capistrano, who was serving in the Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton, and Tibet Ergul, 22, of Irvine — how to construct the incendiary device.

In Monday’s hearing, Carney called Batten’s involvement in the firebombing a “cowardly crime,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Carney said Batten had shown “no empathy for women and their rights” through his desire to attack the clinic.

In a sentencing memorandum, federal prosecutors painted Batten as having watched Brannon and Ergul closely as they carried out the firebombing, essentially looking over their shoulders as they fashioned the Molotov cocktail out of a jar, gasoline, a rag and other items.

Hours before they carried out the attack, Batten was telling the pair about what other ingredients to place inside the jar filled to make it more effective.

“How much Styrofoam,” Brannon asked Batten in a text message.

“You don’t need an exact measurement just ensure you have at least a few inches,” Batten replied “You can also just do as much as it will dissolve. The point is adhesion.”

“God bless,” Brannon replied. “Pray for our success.”

“I will right now,” Batten said.

That night, Brannon and Ergul sent Batten photos of the attack, reporting to him about their success. The firebombing took place pre-dawn, with no one was inside the facility at the time. But later that morning, employees who arrived smelled gasoline and saw scorch marks around the front entrance.

That same day, prosecutors wrote, Batten went back to searching online for more ways to commit violence. He searched for topics like “how to make an IED” and “how to make a pressure activated mine.”

Over the next two months, Batten would delve into even darker subjects. He looked up information on neo-Nazi and racist ideology, typing in phrases like ““catholic kkk,” “kkk allies,” and “happy birthday hitler.”