The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Crime & Courts

January 8, 2013

Ottawa County court finds accused plotter competent

MIAMI, Okla. — A judge ruled Tuesday that a man who was arrested at a Miami motel in alleged possession of materials for 50 Molotov cocktails and plans to firebomb local churches is competent for criminal proceedings to resume.

Gregory A. Weiler II, 23, appeared at a competency evaluation hearing in Ottawa County District Court in Miami.

The defendant was evaluated recently at the Oklahoma Forensic Center in Vinita at the request of his attorney. His evaluators were asked to determine if Weiler is able to understand the nature of the criminal proceedings he is facing, and if he has the ability to assist his attorney in his own defense.

At the hearing, the defendant and his attorney, Andrew Meloy, stipulated to the evaluation’s finding that the defendant is competent for the case to proceed, and Special District Judge William Culver ordered proceedings to resume with a preliminary hearing on Feb. 7.

Weiler is charged with possession of explosive, incendiary devices and with violating the state’s anti-terrorism law.

He was arrested Oct. 4 at the Legacy Inn & Suites in Miami after suspicious items were found in the motel’s trash bin. Police were contacted about a military-type bag containing 50 empty beer bottles with duct tape and strips of cloth attached that a motel employee discovered in the trash. Suspicions were heightened when officers also found a 5-gallon can of gasoline outside the motel.

Weiler, a guest of the motel, was arrested after similar items were spotted inside his room and police were informed.

A search warrant was obtained, and investigators discovered a receipt in the room for sheets, a gas can, a funnel and lighter fluid that were purchased at the town’s Wal-Mart store. They also found a roll of duct tape, several beer bottle caps, an empty 20-bottle box of beer and torn pieces of a handwritten document inside the defendant’s room, according to a probable-cause affidavit.

When the torn pieces of paper were reassembled, they revealed a recipe for Molotov cocktails and a list of 48 churches in the Miami area. A crudely drawn map of the churches featured “a key detailing how many nights and how many people,” the affidavit states.

A journal on the bed in the room reportedly bore an entry that read: “Self promote for the next four years while beginning a 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 years to come.”

Weiler grew up in suburban Chicago and graduated from high school in Elk Grove Village, Ill. A cousin told The Associated Press that both of Weiler’s parents committed suicide, and that he has battled drug addictions and mental illness.

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