Anti-abortion extremist Clayton Lee Waagner pleaded innocent yesterday to charges that he escaped from Dewitt County Jail in Illinois on February 22. Waagner was a fugitive for more than eight months after escaping from the jail where he was awaiting sentencing on federal weapons and stolen vehicle charges. While a fugitive, Waagner allegedly robbed a number of banks to fund his anti-abortion activities, which possibly included sending over 500 anthrax threat letters, signed by the “Army of God,” to abortion providers and reproductive rights advocacy organizations. Waagner has not yet been charged in connection with the anthrax threats. Waagner was also allegedly conducting surveillance on 42 abortion providers whom he intended to kill and later confessed that he had also planned a series of bomb threats to reach abortion providers simultaneously nationwide in an effort to shut down all women’s reproductive health clinics.
U.S. Marshals apprehended Waagner earlier this month at a copy shop when an employee recognized him from a wanted poster. Formerly on the “Most Wanted” lists of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Marshals, and the ATF, Waagner is now in custody in Illinois and will stand trial February 19.