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Suspects In Abortion Clinic Fire Plead Not Guilty

POSTED: 4:42 pm MST December 27, 2007
UPDATED: 6:05 pm MST December 28, 2007

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Eyewitness Accounts Confirm Arson In Abortion Clinic Fire
Two men arrested in connection with a fire at an abortion clinic earlier this month entered not guilty pleas in court Friday.

Federal agents and arson investigators with the Albuquerque Fire Department arrested two men Thursday in connection with a fire at an abortion clinic earlier this month.

The fire department identified the two men as Sergio Baca and Chad Altman, both 22. They are facing charges related to the Dec. 6 fire that destroyed the Abortion Acceptance of Albuquerque clinic.

Criminal papers from federal court show investigators found gas at the scene, indicating arson.

The documents show investigators think that Baca's former girlfriend planned to have an abortion, and she planned to have it at Dr. Curtis Boyd's clinic.

"Extremely upset" is how Baca's former girlfriend described the 22-year-old's reaction to her decision, leading him, investigators believe, to recruit Altman to help burn the clinic.

Authorities have said the clinic was considered a total loss after gasoline was thrown into the building through a broken window and lit on fire.

Baca and Altman were arrested Thursday at their homes and taken into federal custody.

The charges faced by Baca and Altman are federal crimes, because Boyd's office has medical supplies delivered from out of state.

Altman and Baca appeared in court Friday.

Altman was released to the custody of his parents.

Baca will remain in custody pending another hearing next week.

Both men pleaded not guilty.

As for a fire and vandalism at two Planned Parenthood clinics on Christmas morning, authorities have made no arrests.

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