UPDATE: Wis. man sentenced for plotting to kill abortion doctor

UPDATED Friday, August 2, 2013 --- 12:20 p.m.

A Marshfield man who admitted he came to Madison two years ago intending to shoot and kill an abortion doctor has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Ralph Lang was also sentenced Friday to 10 years of extended supervision.

Lang was convicted of attempted first-degree intentional homicide for plotting to kill a doctor at the Planned Parenthood clinic on Madison's east side.

Lang was arrested in 2011 after his gun accidentally fired in a Madison motel room. No one was hurt.

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UPDATED Thursday, May 30, 2013 --- 3:56 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Marshfield man has admitted on the witness stand he came to Madison two years ago intending to shoot and kill an abortion doctor.

Sixty-five-year-old Ralph Lang decided to testify at his trial Thursday just as a Dane County jury was ready to hear closing arguments.

Lang is on trial for attempted first-degree intentional homicide for allegedly plotting to kill a doctor at the Planned Parenthood clinic on Madison's East Side in May 2011.

Lang told the judge Thursday morning he would not testify in his own defense. But the Wisconsin State Journal (http://bit.ly/18zHcxw ) reports Lang changed his mind about two hours later.

In his testimony, Lang called abortion "intrinsically wrong" and "evil."

Lang was arrested after his gun accidentally fired in a Madison motel room. No one was hurt.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, May 28, 2013 --- 7:59 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Marshfield man accused of planning to kill doctors at a Madison abortion clinic will go on trial Wednesday in Dane County.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that a jury of nine women and five men was picked Tuesday to hear Ralph Lang's trial. The 65-year-old man is charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide. Lang was arrested in May 2010 after his gun accidentally fired in a Madison motel room. No one was hurt.

Prosecutors say Lang told investigators he planned to go to the Planned Parenthood clinic to kill the abortion provider.

Lang also faces a federal charge of attempting to injure people participating in a federally funded program. His attorneys argue that charge should be tossed because the federal funds Planned Parenthood receives can't be used for abortions.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, May 28, 2013 --- 11:14 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Marshfield man accused of planning to kill doctors at a Madison abortion clinic goes on trial in Dane County this week.

Jury selection starts Tuesday in the trial of Ralph Lang. The 65-year-old man is charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide. Lang was arrested in May 2010 after his gun accidentally fired in a Madison motel room. No one was hurt.

Prosecutors say Lang told investigators he planned to go to the Planned Parenthood clinic to kill the abortion provider.

Lang has also been charged in federal court with attempting to injure people participating in a federally funded program. His attorneys argue that charge should be tossed because even though Planned Parenthood receives federal funds, that money can't be used to provide abortions under current law.

Copyright 2013. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Friday, March 29, 2013 --- 10:17 a.m.

MARSHFIELD, Wis. (AP) -- The defense team for a Wisconsin man accused of planning a shooting rampage at an abortion clinic is hoping to get the charge dismissed on a legal technicality.

Ralph Lang of Marshfield is accused of driving to Madison in May 2010 with the intent of killing abortion doctors at a Planned Parenthood clinic.

He was indicted last May with attempting to injure, intimidate and interfere with people participating in a federally funded program.

But his lawyers now say that since Planned Parenthood's federal funds can't be used to provide abortions, Lang can't be convicted of targeting someone who receives federal funds.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Vaudreuil tells the Marshfield News-Herald he's confident the government can prove Lang intended to interfere with clinic members who perform other federally funded services.

Copyright 2013. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 --- 8:40p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Marshfield man who allegedly plotted to kill a Madison Planned Parenthood doctor now faces federal charges.

The Wisconsin State Journal (http://bit.ly/HhcB98) reports federal charges were filed Wednesday against 63-year-old Ralph Lang.

Lang already was charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide in Dane County.

He now also faces federal charges of attempting to injure, to intimidate and to interfere with persons participating in a program and activity receiving federal financial assistance. An indictment alleges that his acts included the attempted use of a dangerous weapon -- specifically a firearm -- and an attempt to kill.

Police arrested Lang last May at a Madison motel after his gun discharged while he was loading it.

Lang has been in custody since his arrest pending a competency evaluation and hearing in federal court.

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Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsj

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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UPDATED Tuesday, June 28, 2011 --- 6:40 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A man accused of plotting to kill an abortion clinic doctor will be sent out of state for a mental competency exam before the attempted homicide case against him can proceed.

Dane County Circuit Judge David Flanagan said Monday the state will make use of the competency exam ordered in the federal case against 63-year-old Ralph Lang. The Marshfield man faces state and federal charges after he allegedly told investigators he planned to kill abortion providers at Planned Parenthood in Madison.

Police arrested Lang May 25 at a Madison motel after his gun discharged while he was loading it. The State Journal (http://bit.ly/kfG84j ) says the location of the federal exam has not been disclosed.

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Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsj

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Wednesday, June 22, 2011 --- 8:00 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The attorney for a Marshfield man accused of planning an abortion clinic shooting is raising questions about the defendant's mental competency.

Federal defender Erika Bierma told Magistrate Stephen Crocker Tuesday that she will file a motion for a competency exam for 63-year-old Ralph Lang.

Police investigated a report of a gunshot at a Madison motel May 25. Lang had rented a room at the motel and told investigators his gun accidentally discharged while he was loading it. A complaint says that when asked why he had a gun, Lang told police he planned to shoot abortion providers.

Authorities say Lang planned to shoot a doctor and nurses at a nearby Planned Parenthood clinic the following day. The Stevens Point Journal says Lang has also been charged in Dane County Circuit Court with attempted first-degree intentional homicide.

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Information from: Stevens Point Journal, http://www.stevenspointjournal.com

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Tuesday, June 7, 2011 --- 3:00 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Marshfield man accused of plotting an attack on abortion providers in Madison will not qualify for a public defender.

Ralph W. Lang faces state and federal charges after he told investigators he planned to kill abortion providers at Planned Parenthood last month.

The 63-year-old is charged in state court with attempted first-degree intentional homicide. At a preliminary hearing Tuesday, a judge ruled that Lang has too much income to qualify for a public defender.

Lang can still apply for a court-appointed attorney, an option that would likely give him access to legal counsel at a reduced rate.

Lang's alleged plan was thwarted when his gun fired a bullet through his motel-room door. No one was hurt, but when Lang was arrested for reckless endangerment he allegedly acknowledged planning the clinic attack.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED: Saturday, May 28, 2011 --- 4:30p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Marshfield man already facing a federal charge after describing his plans to attack a Madison abortion clinic. Now 65-year-old Ralph W. Lang faces a state charge as well.

Ralph Lang was charged Friday in state court with attempted first-degree intentional homicide.

Prosecutors also released more details about Lang's alleged plans.

Federal authorities said he talked about shooting doctors and nurses in the head at the Madison Planned Parenthood clinic. Investigators say he then planned to go to a Milwaukee abortion clinic.

A Wisconsin State Journal report (http://bit.ly/knWVQt ) says he was ordered jailed Friday on $200,000 bail.

His alleged plan was thwarted on the eve of the planned Madison attack when his .38-caliber gun went off in his motel room, eventually leading to his arrest on a reckless-endangerment charge.

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Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsj

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED: Friday, May 27, 2011 --- 9:15 p.m.
REPORTER: Chris Woodard

A man plotting to murder abortion providers in Madison is stopped by police only after he makes a mistake.

Tonight he's behind bars and the clinic continues to see patients.

When police responded to a report of an accidental shot fired into a room at a Motel 6 on Madison's east side they had no idea they were about to uncover a murder plot.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin President and CEO Teri Huyck says, "Well of course it's disturbing. It's greatly disturbing."

The target of the plot were staff performing abortions at a Planned Parenthood clinic a few blocks away from the motel.

Police say 63-year-old Ralph Lang drove down from his home in Marshfield Wednesday afternoon and was in the motel room holding a gun when he accidentally fired a bullet into a room across the hall.

According to a criminal complaint Lang told officers he had the gun to "lay out abortionists because they are killing babies."

Huyck says, "We're very concerned about the safety and well being of our staff and patients and that is always on the forefront of our thinking."

Lang told officers he was going to find out who the doctor was doing abortions and shoot him in the head.

He said he bought the gun to "help end abortion."

When asked if his plan was to just shoot the doctor or if it also included nurses Lang said he wished he could "line them all up in a row, get a machine gun, and mow them all down."

He also said he was in Madison last week and had the gun but he was having spiritual troubles and was not 100-percent in sync with God so he didn't shoot anyone at that time.

When Lang got to Madison Wednesday he drove past the clinic and didn't see anyone outside so he went back to the motel with plans of returning to the clinic in the morning.

Huyck says, "I think the actions of anti-abortion proponents and legislators who vilify the healthcare that planned parenthood provides truly emboldens people like this."

The executive director of anti-abortion group Wisconsin Right to Life says they are completely opposed to the use of violence.

She says Lang briefly volunteered with their group 5 or 6 years ago.

In 2007 Lang was arrested outside the same Madison clinic and told officers they were not fulfilling their jobs by not executing people involved in the abortion clinic.

Huyck says, "The staff did know him from that occasion."

Now many are left wondering what would have happened this time had the gun not misfired in the motel.

According to the criminal complaint, when searching the room officers found a map of the United States with dots in each state and the words "some abortion centers."

Lang said that after he shot the doctor performing abortions in Madison that morning he was planning to go to an abortion center in Milwaukee.

Today Lang was charged in Dane County Circuit Court with attempted first-degree intentional homicide.

U.S. Attorney John Vaudreuil says he's considering pursuing a felony charge.

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UPDATED: Friday, May 27, 2011 --- 3:48 p.m.

This afternoon Ralph Lang appeared in Dane County Circuit Court and was charged with Attempted 1st-Degree Intentional Homicide.

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UPDATED Friday, May 27, 2011 --- 12:48 p.m.

Statement by Teri Huyck, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, on the attempted murder of Wisconsin physicians

“For 75 years, the dedicated staff at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin have worked to ensure that women and families will always be able to access affordable, high-quality health care in a safe and caring environment in which their privacy and dignity is respected.

“We care for more than 73,000 patients statewide who turn to us for medical exams, lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control and STD testing and treatment. Over 97 percent of the health care services we provide are critical, preventive care such as this.

“At three of our centers, we provide abortion care, a critical component of comprehensive women’s health care. We believe that women deserve a safe and compassionate provider to turn to, and we are proud to be that place for Wisconsin women.

“Our committed staff does this work in spite of daily protests aimed at intimidating and harassing them and our patients. Yet, day after day, our caring staff demonstrates brave perseverance in providing women with the health care they need.

“We received the disturbing news yesterday that an armed abortion rights opponent was apprehended by the Madison Police. This person apparently intended to murder physicians who provide abortion care at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin.

“Our primary concern today and every day is the health and safety of our patients, staff and volunteers. With the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Madison Police Department, we have taken the security precautions necessary to continue with our work.

“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the law enforcement agencies working with us to ensure Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin continues to be a safe and trusted health care provider for Wisconsin women and families.”

UPDATED Friday, May 27, 2011 --- 12:10 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Federal prosecutors say they may pursue a felony charge against a Marshfield man accused of plotting to kill Madison abortion providers.

They charged 63-year-old Ralph Lang on Thursday with a misdemeanor count of attempting to injure or intimate a person who provides reproductive health services. U.S. Attorney John Vaudreuil says he's considering pursuing a felony charge under a section of U.S. code that bars anyone from threatening or intimidating anyone who is participating in or receiving benefits from a federally funded program.

Lang is accused of planning to shoot abortion providers at Planned Parenthood's Madison clinic. The facility receives a mix of state and federal funding for women's health services.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Oppeneer on Friday ordered Lang detained pending a hearing. His attorney declined comment.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Friday, May 27, 2011 --- 9:45 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin group that opposes abortions says it deplores the alleged actions of a Marshfield man accused of plotting to kill abortion providers in Madison.

Barbara Lyons is the executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life. She said Friday her group is unequivocally opposed to the use of violence.

She tells The Associated Press the group's mission is to protect human life, and she's glad the suspect was apprehended before committing a heinous crime.

Authorities charged 63-year-old Ralph Lang on Thursday with attempting to injure or intimidate a person who provides reproductive health services.

His alleged plan was thwarted a night earlier when his .38 caliber gun accidentally fired in his motel room. When police investigated he said his plan was "to lay out abortionists because they are killing babies."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED: Thursday, May 26, 2011 --- 5:44p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Federal prosecutors have arrested a Marshfield man who traveled to Madison allegedly planning to kill abortion doctors.

Sixty-three-year-old Ralph Lang was charged Thursday with attempting to injure or intimidate a person who provides reproductive health services.

Authorities say Lang was loading his handgun in a Madison hotel on Wednesday when the gun fired, sending a bullet through the door of his room into the room across the hall. No one was injured.

Madison police responded and arrested Lang for reckless endangerment.

Federal prosecutors say Lang acknowledged to police that he had the gun "to lay out abortionists because they are killing babies."

Online court records did not immediately list an attorney for Lang.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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Posted: Thursday, May 26, 2011 --- 3:23p.m.

Release from Madison Police Department:

Incident Date 05/25/2011 - 9:51 PM
Address 1754 Thierer Rd. (Motel 6)

Arrested Ralph W. Lang, age 63
Mr. Lang was arrested for 2nd Degree Reckless Endangering Safety.

Details A 63-year old man was arrested by Madison Police Wednesday night after he discharged a handgun inside his motel room. The round hit two doors, but there were no injuries. The man immediately told motel staff about the gunfire, saying it was an accident. He offered to pay for damages.


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