Christopher Lee Cornell, 22, pleaded guilty to charges of attempted murder of government officials and trying to provide support to a terrorist organization, the report says. Apparently influenced by online propaganda, court documents say Cornell pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
After the sentencing was announced Monday, Cornell said, “Allah’s in control, not the judge.”
The news outlet reports that federal authorities began looking into Cornell’s activities in 2014, after seeing his online support for ISIS. He celebrated beheadings and terror attacks and wanted to start a branch of the group in the United States. He eventually plotted an attack with an unnamed informant to travel to Washington, D.C., and carry out the assassination plans.
But according to his lawyers, Cornell was a gullible kid who had never handled or fired a gun. He told the informant he wanted to create an Islamic State territory in the U.S. — just the two of them. The informant says in a memorandum filed by his lawyer, he was “his only friend besides his brother and his cat.”
“His ideas were not rationally possible or remotely realistic,” the memorandum says. “Chris created a character, with a different name, in a fantasy where this character was somebody in the world.”
After being arrested in 2015, Cornell used a made-up Muslim name for more than a year.
SOURCE: USA Today
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