Photo by Adam Howarth via Flickr Creative Commons

“Got Them… Er, Him”

After several months of investigation, the FBI announced on March 10 that a shadowy group calling itself the American Nationalist Brotherhood was in reality a lone school bus driver from Madera County.

Donny Eugene Mower, a school bus driver employed by the high school district in Chowchilla, was identified by fingerprint technicians at the California Department of Justice crime laboratory in Fresno, Madera County Sheriff John Anderson said several weeks ago during a visit by California Attorney General Kamala Harris to the lab. Anderson said a fingerprint lifted from a sign left at one of the crime scenes was identified as Mower’s because he had been fingerprinted for his bus driving job.

Mower was charged with using an explosive device to damage or destroy a building used in or affecting interstate commerce and intentionally damaging a facility providing reproductive health services in federal court on March 8. He was arrested on the federal charges while in custody on a drunken driving charge. He made his first appearance in U.S. District Court on March 10 but did not enter a plea.

Mower confessed to FBI agents in late January 2011 that he had firebombed the Planned Parenthood clinic in Madera on September 2, 2010. He told investigators that he had constructed a Molotov cocktail while working a late shift at the high school and then driven to the clinic at approximately 1:30 a.m. Before throwing the firebomb through a window, he taped a sign to the Planned Parenthood sign at the building entrance. The sign read, “Murder Our Children? We have a ‘choice’ too. Let’s see if you can burn just as well as your victims. ANB.”

The clinic sustained fire and smoke damage from the attack and was closed for two days afterward.

Mower admitted to agents his motive for the firebombing was his opposition to abortion. He also confessed to leaving threatening signs at the clinic on August 20 and 30.

In addition, Mower admitted responsibility for throwing a brick at the Madera Islamic Center on August 20. Signs saying “No temple for the god of terrorism at ground zero, ANB” were left then. On August 24, more signs, saying “Wake up America, the enemy is here. ANB” and “American Nationalist Brotherhood” were left at the Islamic Center. Sheriff’s investigators recovered a fingerprint from one of the signs that was identified as Mower’s on September 14.

On August 27, a note was found taped to a door at the Sheriff’s Office. The note disclaimed that the ANB was racially motivated. “We are here to revive American pride, which has been dampened by a lot of things,” read the note. The message went on to mention Islam, abortion and gays, “the abomination of homosexuality being rewarded, while those who chose natural relationships are bigots. These and so many more are (sic) the hate crimes, they hit America with a sucker punch…isn’t it time that someone hit back?”

Mower admitted to the FBI that he had taped anti-gay notes to windows at the Madera United Methodist Church on September 8. The notes read: “Homosexual pastors? Is this a Christ-honoring church or are you awakening the spirit of Sodom and Gomorrah? Search yourselves. ANB.” The United Methodist Church has had an ongoing debate about the role of gay clergy for several years.

Mower claimed he used school district computers and supplies to make the signs and notes that were found by investigators.

  • Community Alliance

    The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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