Abortion Bombing Defendants Acted Alone, Officials Say
Jan. 21, 1985
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Authorities believe three men accused of eight anti-abortion bombings in the capital region acted alone and were not responsible for terrorist acts at abortion clinics around the nation.
Bail hearings for the three Maryland men are set for Tuesday, the 12th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. They are being held until then at jails in Maryland and Virginia.
''There is still no evidence of a nationwide conspiracy'' to bomb abortion clinics, a spokesman for the Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said Sunday.
The spokesman, Jack Killorin, said ATF had brought charges in 20 of 30 bombings across the country.
''I think it's time to put the national conspiracy theory to rest,'' said a bureau source who spoke only on condition he not be identified. ''If there was a conspiracy, we'd have found some tracks.''
The three Maryland men arrested last week were identified by ATF as Thomas Eugene Spinks, 37, a roofing and chimney contractor from Bowie; Michael D. Bray, 32, a house painter, also from Bowie; and Kenneth William Shields, 34, a comptroller from Laurel.
Officials said each was charged with conspiracy to violate the federal explosive and firearms laws and with making and using explosives.
According to an affidavit filed in federal court by special agent John Schworm of ATF, similar materials including the chemicals sodium chlorate and sulphur were used in all of the Washington area bombings.
The affidavit said Shields told investigators he and Spinks bought materials allegedly used in the bombings. Spinks also purchased materials from several chemical firms under the name ''Lou Burns,'' according to Shields, Schworm's affadavit said.
Shields said he and Spinks planned to start a mail order chemical business, the affadavit said. However, the document also said that, in an interview, Shields said Spinks ''described to him how he makes the bombs ... providing detail of the materials and explosives compounds used.''
Stephen E. Higgins, director of the ATF, said Saturday that ''a large quantity of explosive materials'' and other items that could be used to build bombs were found at Spinks' residence.
Higgins also said the bureau had uncovered no evidence that the so-called ''Army of God'' or any other national organization was involved in the bombings.
Spinks, Shields and Bray were charged in connection with the July 4 bombing of the National Abortion Federation in Washington; the Feb. 17 bombing of the Hillcrest Clinic in Norfolk, Va.; the July 7 bombing of Planned Parenthood of Maryland in Annapolis; the Nov. 19 bombings of the Metropolitan Medical Women's Center in Rockville, Md., and the Randolph Medical Center in Wheaton, Md.; the Dec. 24 bombing of the Metropolitan Family Planning Institute in Suitland, Md.; and the New Year's Day bombing of the Hillcrest Women's Surgi- Center in Washington.
They were also charged in connection with the Nov. 3 bombing of the American Civil Liberties Union offices in Washington.
No one was injured in any of the bombings.