by Steven Ertelt
July 6, 2005
Philadelphia, PA (LifeNews.com) — A man who mailed letters containing threats and fake anthrax to abortion facilities and crisis pregnancy centers was sentenced on Thursday to 19 years in a federal prison. Clayton Lee Waagner was portrayed by the media and abortion advocates as a pro-life advocate but the career criminal never associated with any organizations.
Acting as his own attorney, Waagner told a federal judge he didn’t care what kind of sentence he received, according to a report in the Morning Call newspaper.
"If the court were to give me the death penalty it would be worthwhile," Waagner said, "because I did what I did."
Waagner was accused of mailing out hundreds hoax letters across the U.S. shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks and real anthrax letters that arrived at Congressional offices and in postal facilities in Washington.
He was convicted in December 2003 by a federal jury. When he was caught, he had been on the run after escaping prison in Illinois, where he was supposed to be serving 49 years in prison for firearms and auto theft convictions. His crime sprees also included bank robberies and he became the first man to appear on the most-wanted lists for both the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service.
Waagner claims to oppose abortion, but he was not involved in any pro-life group. In fact, pro-life organizations condemned his anthrax letters, which also arrived at the offices of crisis pregnancy centers, where staff provide women with abortion alternatives.
In October 2001, the North Penn Pregnancy Counseling Center in Lansdale, Pennsylvania received a letter that contained a powdery white substance.
"Violence, or the threat of violence, is never the appropriate response to the tragedy of abortion," said the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation in a written statement. "To be pro-life means to honor all human life as sacred."
Barbara Listing, President of Right to Life of Michigan, added, "[W]e vigorously oppose the psychological terror which has been afflicted on some people who are involved in the abortion industry. No pro-life agenda is furthered by deeds which show contempt toward human beings."