by Steven Ertelt
August 2, 2006
Shreveport, LA (LifeNews.com) — A Louisiana woman has been sentenced to six years in prison for leaving an incendiary device at an abortion business in Shreveport. Patricia Hughes, who is 25, pleaded guilty despite an explanation from her attorney that she was trying to leave a lighted memorial at the abortion center instead.
Hughes plead guilty to putting a Molotov cocktail outside the door of the Hope Medical Group for Women abortion facility on December 12 at about 10:45 p.m. Officials say the device was far enough away from the building that it burned without causing any damage.
Officials released a videotape of the security camera footage which shows a car pulling into the parking lot and a woman getting out on the passenger side. She is seen leaving the device at the abortion facility, entering the car and leaving.
In return for the guilty plea, Hughes would not receive a longer sentence because she was previously convicted for burglary on a prior and unrelated occasion.
Jeremy Dunahoe, Hughes’ boyfriend who drove the vehicle she got out of at the abortion center, plead guilty to being an accessory to the crime. Prosecutors said Dunahoe tried to hide Hughes after he discovered police were looking for her.
He has been jailed since his plea and will be sentenced Thursday.
Defense attorney Edward Mouton says Hughes put the device in front of the abortion center as a memorial.
"She learned earlier that day that her sister had had an abortion and she went their basically to leave a lamp, a little memorial to her sister’s dead child," Mouton said.
However, the device was a bottle filled with gasoline and a rag for a fuse — which could have caused significant damage.
"Late in the night, she took what she meant to be a lamp, like a memorial, down to the front of the Hope Clinic and left it far away from the building that it wouldn’t start the building on fire and lit it and left it," he told KSLA-TV previously.
"She’s accused of having a shampoo bottle that had a little bit of gasoline in it and a rag stuffed in the top of it," he told the Louisiana television station. "It was just a lamp essentially. And because it was gasoline, it burned brighter than kerosene would."
Mouton said Hughes didn’t use an actual candle because she worried the flame would be extinguished in the wind and that her point wouldn’t be made. She wanted, what Mouton referred to as a "tribute" to last longer.
Caddo District Judge Ramona Emanuel oversaw the trial.