WACO, Texas (CN) – A jihadist U.S. soldier who plotted to bomb and shoot military personnel near Fort Hood last summer will spend the rest of his life in federal prison.
Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo, 22, of Garland, was sentenced Friday to two consecutive life sentences for attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and for possession of a weapon in furtherance of a federal crime of violence. He was also sentenced to 60 years for one count of attempted murder of officers or employees of the United States, two counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a federal crime of violence, and one count of possession of a weapon in furtherance of a federal crime of violence. A federal jury convicted Abdo of all six charges in May.
At his sentencing hearing, Abdo said he was committed to “jihad,” or holy war, according to the Austin-American Statesman.
“I don’t ask the court for mercy because Allah is the one who gives me mercy,” Adbo said, adding that his plans had been motivated by crimes against Muslims committed by the United States and its military.
“I have continued to answer the call of jihad and will continue to the day I am called to account for my deeds,” he said.
Abdo was arrested on July 27, 2011, in Killeen while he was absent without leave from Fort Campbell, Ky. Prosecutors say Abdo was apprehended carrying a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol, bomb components and instructions on how to build a bomb. He planned to detonate the bomb at a local restaurant frequented by soldiers from nearby Fort Hood.
Abdo was allowed to represent himself at the sentencing hearing by U.S. District Judge Walter Smith.
The Statesman reported that Abdo was wearing a striped prison uniform, shackles and a mask. Under the mistaken belief that he had been infected with HIV, Adbo cut his lip and spat blood at prison guards and a U.S. marshal, according to the Statesman.
Abdo grew up in the suburbs of Dallas and became a Muslim as a teenager, the Dallas Morning News reported. He enlisted in 2009 and filed for conscientious objector status the next year before his unit deployed to Afghanistan. Abdo lost conscientious objector status after he was charged with possessing child pornography in May 2011.
After sentencing, U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman gave a statement to reporters.
“This prosecution demonstrates two important points,” he said. “First, the prevention of tragic events such as Mr. Abdo was planning can be averted by alert citizens who pass along their concerns to law enforcement officials and by law enforcement officers who diligently perform their duties. And second, that those who use or plan violence to further their twisted agendas will be prosecuted as aggressively as the law allows and will, as in this case, spend the rest of their lives staring at the walls of a prison cell.”