Man gets 7½ years for 2022 firebombing of Wisconsin anti-abortion office

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Posted at 1:36 PM, Apr 11, 2024

MADISON (AP) — A Wisconsin man was sentenced Wednesday to 7½ years in prison after pleading guilty to firebombing the office of an anti-abortion group two years ago.

Hridindu Roychowdhury, 29, of Madison, also will serve three years on supervised release under the sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge William Conley and was ordered to pay nearly $32,000 in restitution.

Roychowdhury admitted to throwing two Molotov cocktails through the window of the Madison office of Wisconsin Family Action on May 8, 2022, less than a week after the leak of a draft opinion suggesting the U.S. Supreme Court's intention to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

One of the firebombs failed to ignite, and the other set a bookcase on fire. Roychowdhury also acknowledged spray-painting the message "If abortions aren't safe then you aren't either" on the outside of the building. No one was in the office at the time.

Conley said Roychowdhury "engaged in a deliberate act of terrorism toward a group advocating a different view" from his own and had a "deep hate and anger that in his mind justified firebombing a building."

A telephone message seeking comment was left early Wednesday evening with Roychowdhury's federal public defender.

Investigators connected Roychowdhury to the firebombing after police assigned to the state Capitol in Madison reviewed surveillance video of a protest against police brutality. It showed several people spray-painting graffiti on Capitol grounds that resembled the message left on the Wisconsin Family Action office. The images also showed two people leaving the area in a pickup that investigators tracked to Roychowdhury's home in Madison.

Police began following Roychowdhury, and in March they extracted his DNA from a half-eaten burrito he threw away at a parking lot. That matched a sample taken at the scene of the firebombing.

Police arrested Roychowdhury on March 28, 2023, at a Boston airport where he had booked a one-way ticket to Guatemala City, federal prosecutors have said.

Roychowdhury signed a plea deal with prosecutors agreeing to a federal charge of damaging property with explosives.