The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

February 6, 2013

Man accused of planning to firebomb area churches

MIAMI, Okla. — The U.S. attorney’s office in Tulsa has assumed prosecution of a man who was arrested at a motel in Miami in alleged possession of Molotov cocktails and a bizarre plan to firebomb dozens of area churches.

A federal grand jury returned a sealed indictment of Gregory A. Weiler II, 24, on Friday in U.S. District Court in Tulsa. The indictment was unsealed and made public Wednesday with the dismissal of state charges against the defendant and his arraignment in federal court.

Weiler is facing a federal charge of possession of an unregistered destructive device. He had been charged in Ottawa County District Court with constituting a threat to use an explosive or incendiary device, and with a violation of Oklahoma’s anti-terrorism law.

Weiler, who hails from Elk Grove Village, Ill., was arrested Aug. 4 at the Legacy Inn & Suites in Miami after a maintenance worker discovered suspicious items in a motel trash bin. A sailor’s bag containing 50 empty beer bottles with duct tape and strips of cloth attached was brought to the attention of police, who then found a 5-gallon can of gasoline outside the motel.

When a motel employee spotted similar items inside Weiler’s room at the motel, police searched the room and turned up a Wal-Mart receipt for the purchase of sheets, a gas can, a funnel and lighter fluid. They also seized a roll of duct tape, beer bottle caps, an empty 20-bottle case of beer and torn pieces of a document.

When the document was reassembled, it was found to contain a recipe for Molotov cocktails, a list of 48 churches in the Miami area and a crudely drawn map depicting their locations. A journal that was found on the motel room bed contained 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.”

A cousin of the defendant told The Associated Press that both of Weiler’s parents committed suicide, and that he has struggled with drug addictions and mental illness for a number of years. Other family members suggested that he may have stopped taking his medication in recent months.

Police believe he had been working in the Houston area before ending up in Miami on his way to Missouri. He told police that he caught a ride in Texas from two men he did not know. He said they left him stranded in Miami when he got into an argument with them.

Custody change

GREGORY WEILER waived a detention hearing Wednesday and remains in federal custody in Tulsa. A federal public defender has been appointed for him, but that lawyer could not be reached for comment.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Embezzler from Joplin car dealerships sent to prison

    A federal judge has sentenced Kathryn M. Stayton to 13 months in prison for embezzling more than $100,000 from Frank Fletcher Ford and Credit Cars of Joplin. U.S. District Judge Greg Kays assessed the 36-year-old Joplin woman the prison term at a sentencing hearing this week in federal court in Springfield. The judge also ordered the former controller at both car dealerships to pay restitution totaling $121,249. 51.

    April 18, 2014

  • Screening of MSSU presidential applicants to wrap by end of April

    The Board of Governors at Missouri Southern State University could be in a position to name a president as early as the end of June, according to a timeline presented Friday by the co-chair of the presidential search committee.

    April 18, 2014

  • Teams from Carl Junction, Diamond advance in Destination Imagination

    Student teams from Carl Junction and Diamond will be traveling to Destination Imagination finals May 20-24 in Knoxville, Tenn., after being top finishers in competition this month at Missouri Southern State University.

    April 18, 2014

  • Neosho Dogwood Tour reset, after false start

    The 53rd annual Neosho Dogwood Tour will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 27. The event, presented by the Neosho Rotary Club and the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce, originally was scheduled for Sunday, April 13.

    April 18, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

  • Kansas Regents stick with social media policy

    After directing a committee to study a controversial social media policy and make recommended changes, the Kansas Board of Regents appears to not be changing the policy at all. It’s left some in academia baffled by why it appointed the work group in the first place.

    April 18, 2014

  • Pittsburg Farmer's Market to open in new building, new location

    The official market season in Pittsburg, Kan., will kick off in the market’s new pavilion-style building at a new address, 11th and Broadway, on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. Market hours will continue throughout the season on Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon, with some Wednesdays or other special days throughout the season as announced.

    April 18, 2014

  • 041714 School safe rooms4_72.jpg Joplin school district readies community safe rooms for storm season

    Thousands of Joplin residents will soon be able to stay safe during storms in some of the region’s newest shelters. Community safe rooms at Cecil Floyd, Stapleton, McKinley and Eastmorland elementary schools, which double as gymnasiums, and Junge Field, which will double as a field house, are expected to be open within the next few weeks, according to Mike Johnson, the school district’s director of construction.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

Yes.
No.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter