URBANA — A northwestern Illinois man faces five to 20 years in prison for trying to burn down a building in Danville that was set to become an abortion clinic.
Philip J. Buyno, 73, of Prophetstown pleaded guilty to attempted arson Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Eric Long in federal court in Urbana. Long set his sentencing for Feb. 5.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene Miller said the change to guilty was made at Buyno’s request, without a plea deal.
Federal authorities charged Buyno in May, accusing him of intentionally crashing a Volkswagen loaded with old tires, firewood and gasoline into the building in the 600 block of North Logan Avenue in Danville. The building didn’t catch fire, but its front entrance was heavily damaged.
If the case were to go to trial, Miller said the government would show that police responded to an alarm at the building May 20, that Buyno’s vehicle was backed into it at a high rate of speed and that he told an officer he intentionally crashed into it and intended to set it on fire because it was going to be used as a reproductive health clinic.
Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Colin Bruce denied Buyno’s request to enter a no-contest plea.
Buyno will remain in federal custody while he awaits his sentencing.