Alabama Man Arrested for Florida Abortion Clinic Fire

January 5, 2012 - 12:45 PM

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — An Alabama man was arrested Thursday on federal charges that he set fire to a Florida Panhandle abortion clinic New Year's morning, authorities said.

Bobby Joe Rogers of Tuscaloosa was charged with violating federal explosives laws and is being held at the Escambia County Jail pending indictment, the state fire marshal's office said. It was not immediately known if he had a lawyer. He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

The office said tips from the community led to Rogers' arrest.

The two-story clinic that was gutted by flames early Sunday has been site of violence and protests for 30 years. It was bombed on Christmas Day in 1984, and in 1994 a doctor and a volunteer who escorted patients to and from the clinic were shot to death as they arrived. The gunman, Paul Hill, was executed in 2003.

No one was hurt in Sunday's fire, which was reported around 1 a.m.