Bombs for Babies

Stephen Jordi planned to blow up abortion clinics. Does that make him a terrorist?

While in Starke, a reporter from the Gainesville Sun questioned Jordi about Hill. "Conviction warrants action," Jordi said. "Paul Hill was given that conviction, but not everyone was." At the time, Jordi told the reporter, God hadn't given him such a "conviction."

But Jordi's brother wasn't convinced. Michael Jordi, who lives in Alabama and refused to comment for this article, informed the FBI that he believed Jordi was likely to commit violence. The federal agency, in turn, assigned Welch to become Jordi's new best friend.

The move seemed appropriate. The FBI has stepped up its investigation of the Army of God, the NAF's Saporta says: "In the past year, the case seems to be that the FBI is investigating and arresting these extremists before they act." Jordi was among the first to be apprehended as a result of this greater vigilance. Last month, federal agents raided 41-year-old John Mikula's home near Buffalo, New York, and discovered bomb ingredients. Authorities are now holding Mikula, an alleged Army of God associate, on stalking charges.

S. Romero
Stephen Jordi said he had a plan to firebomb abortion clinics.
Stephen Jordi said he had a plan to firebomb abortion clinics.

Following Hill's execution, Jordi became increasingly combative about his beliefs. He began to question people at First Baptist at Hillsboro about whether it was moral to blow up abortion clinics. The questioning scared Pastor Jerry Williamson. On November 7, 2003, he faxed a letter to the Coconut Creek Police Department. "Our counsel to him was that scripture teaches against violence and that it would be un-Biblical," Williamson wrote. "He asked the same question on a few occasions and received the same answer from each of the pastors on staff. He then asked that his name be removed from the membership of First Baptist at Hillsboro as he disagreed with our stance on the issue.

"We do not believe that he will move forward on this issue," Williamson continued, "but we do feel that it is our responsibility to inform the city of this specific clergy counsel."

But Williamson was wrong. Jordi did move forward -- with a little help from a friend.

Welch had gained Jordi's absolute trust. They'd made a pact. On October 27, 2003, the two men swore to each other, hands on the Good Book, that neither was a "fed." The time had come. Jordi's wife was pregnant once again.

"One night in October, he called up and asked, if something happened to him, would we take Charlotte and the children," remembers Jordi's father-in-law. "Of course, being the grandparents, why wouldn't we?"

Though he kept Charlotte from her parents during most of their marriage, Jordi in early November escorted his family to Pensacola and returned to South Florida alone. He and Welch would move the plot forward.

On November 11, Jordi and his friend met at the Deerfield Beach Denny's where they'd eaten lunch three months earlier. The two men then left together in Jordi's van, driving a few miles south to a Home Depot on SW 12th Avenue, near Interstate 95. They purchased gloves and two five-gallon gasoline tanks and then headed south. Next, they bought flares and starter fluid at an auto-parts store and propane tanks at Outdoor World in Dania Beach. Once they filled the gasoline tanks at a Shell station on Alton Road in Miami Beach later that afternoon, they had in their possession all the necessary ingredients for a devastating firebomb.

That evening, Jordi and Welch arrived at the boat at Sunset Harbor Marina and unloaded the materials they'd bought during the day. Welch motioned to the .45 and silencer, Jordi gave him $200, and federal agents swooped in. Jordi dove into the water. Forty-five minutes later, he was pulled onto a Coast Guard vessel, wet and arrested.

Eight days after his arrest, the imprisoned Jordi called Horsley of the Army of God, alleging that he had been entrapped by federal agents. "Everything that was arranged was arranged by [Welch]," Jordi said in a tape-recorded conversation provided to New Times. "And everything he wanted to buy, he paid for most of it... He asked me several times to do illegal activities... He said, 'Let's go rob some cop cars, because then we can get a bulletproof vest. '"

He had no intention of bombing abortion clinics in the near future, Jordi told Horsley. He was just stocking up. Indeed, though the pair cased a Fort Lauderdale abortion clinic, there is no evidence that Jordi and Welch ever discussed a date or target for the bombing spree. And the anti-abortionist told the snitch that he didn't plan to act in Florida, which made an immediate attack highly unlikely. "I had a two- to six-year plan," he told Horsley. "My two- to six-year plan included going into the wilderness in two different survival courses, which would have been two and a half years, for the purpose of prayer and study. It did not involve blowing up places, at least until I'd gleaned a whole bunch of information [about God's view of bombing abortion clinics]. This was basically thought control... That was my whole point, to get information. But I didn't think getting information was illegal."

"Obviously, that was a fundamental error," Horsley told his Army of God colleague. "You look like the person that they were looking for to set the Army of God network myth in motion."

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