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Would-Be Terrorist Appeals His Sentence

DALLAS (CN) - A Jordanian man who tried to blow up a downtown skyscraper is having second thoughts about pleading guilty. Two weeks ago, Hosam "Sam" Smadi was sentenced to 24 years in federal prison. He has appealed his sentence though he could have been sentenced to 30 years under terms of the plea agreement.

Smadi, 20, pleaded guilty in May to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. Without the plea bargain, he faced a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Smadi filed his appeal pro se, from prison. The 1-page appeal to the 5th Circuit provides no details or argument.

Prosecutors said Smadi parked what he believed was a car bomb in the garage under the Fountain Place office building on Sept. 24, 2009.

The explosive was actually inert - it was provided by undercover FBI agents posing as members of a terrorist sleeper cell.

"Smadi activated a timer connected to the device, locked the truck and walked away," federal prosecutors said after his sentencing.

"Smadi walked out of the parking garage, crossed the street and got into a car with an undercover law enforcement agent. They drove a safe distance away and prepared to watch the explosion. Smadi, who believed the bomb would explode and cause extensive damage, used a cell phone to remotely activate the device."

In testimony during sentencing, Smadi's father said he regularly beat his son and then abandoned him in the United States when he was 16. He and a neighbor in Jordan also testified about Smadi's extreme grief when his mother died of cancer 4 years ago.

Smadi tried to revive her with a defibrillator after hospital personnel declared her dead. He later spent nights sleeping at her gravesite, the Morning News reported.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn said at sentencing that Smadi was not "the only person who had been dealt a bad hand. ... You made these choices."

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