PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A federal judge determined probable cause was established during a preliminary hearing for the Chillicothe man accused of the January 15 arson at the Planned Parenthood Peoria Health Center.
Tyler Massengill, 32, was charged in a federal criminal complaint with malicious use of fire and an explosive to damage, and attempt to damage, the Planned Parenthood Peoria Health Center, a building used in interstate commerce.
Judge Hawley said probable cause was established by the evidence of fire, Massengill’s own statements to the police, and sufficient evidence the Peoria Health Center provides services to out-of-state patients.
ATF Special Agent Kevin Brown testified he took custody of evidence, a rock from the Peoria Police Department and one-gallon canister of fire debris from the Peoria Fire Department, and submitted it to the ATF Lab.
A detention hearing was also supposed to occur on Wednesday, but was continued to February 6 because a pre-trial interview has not yet been conducted. Massengill has not yet retained an attorney, who is required to sit with him for the pre-trial interview.
Massengill was represented by a federal public defender Thomas Patton for the preliminary hearing. He initially said he would represent himself because he is still working on getting an attorney through Right to Life, a conservative pro-life organization.
With probable cause established, the case now heads to a federal grand jury, who will have 30 days to return an indictment. If an indictment is returned, an arraignment will be scheduled next.