Tulsa, Oklahoma – An Illinois man who plotted to bomb dozens of Oklahoma churches has now been charged in federal court.
Reports state that 24-year-old Gregory Weiler II of Oak Village, Illinois was charged on Wednesday with one count of possessing an unregistered device of destruction. A federal grand jury indictment was unsealed during the hearing, during which Weiler pleaded not guilty through an assigned public defender. He faces up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
As previously reported, last October, Weiler was reported to police after staff at a motel in Miami, Oklahoma said that they saw suspicious items in his room. Among the items included approximately 50 glass bottles with wicks attached, as well as a gas can and funnel.
When police arrived on the scene, they found documents that mapped out plans to bomb 48 local churches. According to a filed affidavit, Weiler’s notes included information on what nights the congregants met and how many people are generally in attendance. All of the churches listed were in Ottawa County.
Police state that they also found a journal on Weiler’s bed that provided information on his motivation behind the attacks.
One of the entries read, “Self-promote for the next 4 years while beginning list of goals written out in Oklahoma having to do with destroying and removing church buildings from U.S. a tiny bit at a time — setting foundation for the years to follow.”
A piece of paper was also found in the waste can that said, “Try to get away with it … maybe a plan out of town?”
Additionally, police advise that they discovered a duffle bag filled with Molotov cocktails, handwritten notes for the bomb-making recipe and a case of 20 empty beer bottles.
According to family and friends, Weiler had been expressing his angst against religion for a number of years. They state that they noticed last September that he had posted some odd statuses on Facebook.
On September 25th, Weiler wrote a lengthy note outlining his views on everything from the reason for the founding of the nation to current events overseas, to his belief that “[i]f you want conviction of other-worldly kind, you need not look in a Bible.” He opined that America needs to come together under a common belief system that turns its back on the old ways of thinking, and stated, “[I]f no one else will, then I will stand alone, and form my own.”
“I have not opened a Bible in a while, and I haven’t stepped foot into a church building in quite some time — and though I may be very lonely right now, I am hoping that someone, and maybe someday in the future, someone will take notice,” Weiler wrote.
His last status, written on September 30th, stated, “Remember… if no one else is going to help you in your greatest time of need, you will have a guide.”
After being taken into custody, Weiler was charged with threatening to use an explosive device and violating the Oklahoma Anti-Terrorism Act. He was to be charged under state law, but the charges were dropped this past Wednesday after he was taken into federal custody.
Weiler’s aunt told reporters following the indictment that she believes he has a mental illness.
“He’s very sick,” she told The Associated Press. “We’re very concerned he even understands what’s happening to him.”
However, last month, Weiler was found mentally competent to stand trial in court.