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Convicted Abortion Clinic Arsonist Released In OregonSalem-News.com
After 25-years... reactions to her freedom are mixed.
(PORTLAND, Ore.) - At 8:00 am on November 9th, 2018, Shelley Shannon walked out of a Portland, Oregon halfway house for the last time.
Now 62, Rachelle “Shelley” Shannon, is free after serving 25-years in federal prison for the attempted murder of Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider.
Tiller was shot as he left the clinic's parking lot. Injured in both arms, Tiller returned to work the following day.
After Shannon was arrested and police were searching her car, they found a letter she had written to her daughter denying the shooting was wrong.
“It was the most holy, most righteous thing I’ve ever done,” she wrote in the letter. “I have no regrets."
Besides trying to kill Tiller in 1993, Shannon went on a multi-state spree of attacks which included six arson and two acid attacks in California, Oregon and Nevada.
Planned Parenthood’s Reaction
Paul Dillon, the Vice President of the regional Planned Parenthood network told reporters Friday, that “patient safety and privacy are paramount to our group.”
Planned Parenthood is accepting donations to spread the cost of added security. Dillon added that “security will not be interrupted."
“Our staff is resilient and passion. Our staff remains committed to the mission and will continue to provide much-needed services,” he added.
An Arson and Acid Attack in Nevada
Originally a homemaker from Grants Pass, Oregon, Shannon became involved in anti-abortion activism about 1988.
On Aug. 18, 1992, Shelley Shannon torched a clinic in Reno.
On Sept. 16, 1992, at two clinics in Reno, Nevada she injected butyric acid into the walls. The acid released noxious smells resembling vomit. The clinics were forced to be evacuated.
Following the acid attacks, she went to Ohio to visit John Brockhoeft, the convicted fire bomber of a Cincinnati abortion clinic.
Shannon also maintained a steady correspondence with a Florida man, Michael Griffin, praising him for killing an abortion doctor and wishing to trade places with him.
Shannon sent more than 25 letters to Griffin according to the August 22, 1993 issue of The Tuscoloosa News.
"It was not murder," Shannon wrote in one letter. "You shot a murderer."
Then, Shannon took a bus to Oklahoma City, rented a car and on August 19, 1993, she drove to Dr. Tiller’s clinic in Wichita.
The clinic, Women’s Health Care Services was bombed in 1986 and was the focus of Operation Rescues 46-day 'Summer of Mercy' campaign in 1981 which saw over 2,600 anti-abortion activists arrested.
She shot at Dr. Tiller with a semiautomatic pistol as he was driving out of the clinic parking lot, hitting him in his arms. She was arrested several hours after the shooting.
Mixed Assessment of Shannon Staying Out of Jail
“She has the same goals she had when she was convicted,” said U.S. Attorney Stephen Peifer.
“She may commit more violence herself, but what is more likely is her advising others to follow through. That’s her track record."
Not everyone agrees with Peifer’s assessment.
"I don’t think she’ll be doing anything violent,” said Rev. Donald Spitz, an anti-abortion activist who has been in touch with Shannon.
“Obviously, no one knows. I’d be very surprised,” Spitz added.
"It’s not unusual for there to be two views to the resolution of a case as emotionally wrought as this,” said Nicholas Wooldridge, a Nevada violent crimes attorney.
“As in most situations of this nature, there are two sides and the truth is somewhere in the middle."
Dr. George Tiller, one of the few physicians in America who provided abortions late in pregnancy, continued to be a target of anti-abortion violence. In 2009, he was shot and killed by Scott Roeder, as he stood in his church foyer, during a Sunday morning service.
Roeder was found guilty of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault, and sentenced on April 1, 2010 to life imprisonment without any chance of parole for 50 years.
In November 2017, the Florida Commission on Offender Review denied Michael Griffin's request for parole, ruling that he must remain in prison at least until the year 2043.
Source: Salem-News.com Special Features Dept.
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