A man accused of sending hundreds of anthrax hoax letters to abortion clinics appeared today before a federal magistrate in Cincinnati, who ordered the former fugitive held without bond.
Clayton Lee Waagner, 45, who had been on the FBI's most-wanted list, chatted with reporters during his initial appearance in court on a charge of being in possession of a firearm after having been convicted of three or more violent felonies. If convicted, he could be sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.
He "also has a number of charges pending throughout the United States," said W. Kelly Johnson, the assistant federal public defender who is representing Waagner. "The U.S. Department of Justice is determining how they will handle the [additional] charges and in what order the charges will be handled."
Attorney General John Ashcoft announced last week that Waagner is suspected of sending more than 280 letters to health clinics that perform abortions on the East Coast during the second week of October. The letters purported to contain anthrax, but all such threats to date have proven to be hoaxes.
Until he was captured Wednesday, Waagner had been on the run from authorities since February, when he escaped from an Illinois jail where he was awaiting sentencing on federal weapons charges. He unsuccessfully used an insanity defense during that trial, saying he received multiple messages from God instructing him to kill abortion doctors.
Authorities said he was arrested in Springdale, Ohio, after he was spotted at a Kinko's store, and it was Waagner's use of the Internet that ultimately led to his capture, sources told ABCNEWS' Pierre Thomas.
Spotted at Kinko's
U.S. marshals had recently learned Waagner was using computers at Kinko's to view anti-abortion sites, and they were monitoring the Internet for any activity. The Justice Department, officials said, had sent Waagner's wanted poster to every Kinko's in the country, and that enabled a clerk at the Springdale store to recognize him.
The clerk contacted the U.S. Marshals Service, and local police were notified. They captured Waagner on foot, and officials said investigators seized his vehicle, where they found a computer and cash. Sources said he also recently bought surveillance equipment and a bulletproof vest.
Waagner has ties to the Army of God, a militant anti-abortion group. Many of the anthrax threats sent to abortion clinics were signed "Army of God."
This summer, Waagner maintained on the Army of God Web site that he wanted to kill as many abortion providers as he can.
On the day after Thanksgiving, another anti-abortion militant, Neal Horsley, posted a message on his Web site, the Christian Gallery, saying that Waagner had visited him and told him he had sent the hoax anthrax mailings.
Waagner is also a suspect in a Pennsylvania bank robbery last May, and a carjacking in September. In the September incident, authorities say a car abandoned by Waagner contained a pipe bomb and extremist anti-abortion literature.
The Army of God praises anti-abortion militants who have committed violence against abortion providers. The group has voiced support for Paul Hill, a Presbyterian minister on death row in Florida for killing two abortion clinic workers in Pensacola, Fla., in 1993, and James Kopp, who is in a French jail pending extradition to face charges in the 1998 shooting death of Buffalo, N.Y., doctor Barnett Slepian.
Eric Rudolph, the fugitive wanted in connection with the 1996 Olympic Park bombing, is also suspected of involvement in two bombings in Atlanta for which the Army of God claimed responsibility.
ABCNEWS' Pierre Thomas and Michael S. James contributed to this report.