Prince George's County

Pipe Bomb Suspect Quiet in U.S. Court, But His Shirt Isn't

By Ruben Castaneda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Prince George's man charged with building a pipe bomb he allegedly wanted to use to attack a Greenbelt abortion clinic appeared in federal court yesterday wearing an antiabortion T-shirt.

On the front of Robert Weiler Jr.'s green shirt were the words "Help Cure Abortion." On the back was "ABORTION: The leading cause of death in America," as well as writing that said abortion claims 1,200,000 lives annually.

Weiler, 25, said little during his initial court appearance in Greenbelt before U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles B. Day. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan E. Foreman asked Day to order Weiler to remain in custody, saying the serious charges against him make him a flight risk.

Weiler did not enter a plea, and his attorney, Assistant Public Defender Michael Citara Manis, said Weiler waived his right to a detention hearing. Day scheduled a preliminary hearing for June 22, and until then Weiler will remain in custody.

Weiler is charged with four federal offenses, including possession of an unregistered destructive device and possession of a stolen firearm. Each carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

He was taken into custody at a rest stop in Western Maryland early Thursday. By dawn that day, the bomb he had allegedly built and stored at a friend's home in the Riverdale Heights area had been partially detonated by bomb squad technicians working to disarm it.

Weiler's father, Robert F. Weiler Sr., told The Washington Post on Friday that he and his wife turned his son in to authorities. He said that although he opposes abortion, he felt he had no choice but to turn in his son.

In the interview, he said he and his wife, Catherine, contacted Prince George's police June 4 to report their suspicions.

They attended yesterday's hearing but would not comment.

According to a sworn affidavit signed by two agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the younger Weiler admitted planning to attack the clinic and said he intended to "shoot doctors who provided abortions." A loaded gun was found in the glove box of his car when he was arrested, the affidavit says.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company