Digital Version of November/December 2014 Print Edition
Abdo guilty on all counts in 2011 Texas bomb plot
The 22-year-old man who was arrested for plotting an explosives attack on a restaurant near the U.S. Army base in Killeen, TX, was convicted by a jury on May 24 on weapons of mass destruction and attempted murder charges.
The jury in Waco, TX, convicted Jason Abdo of one count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction; 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 two counts of possession of a destructive device in furtherance of a federal crime of violence.
At the time of his arrest last July, Abdo was absent without leave (AWOL) from Fort Campbell, KY, the FBI said, and he had a gun and instructions on how to build a bomb and bomb-components. Court documents at the time alleged that Abdo intended to detonate the destructive device inside a restaurant near Ft. Hood, which was a favorite of soldiers from the base. Abdo was nabbed after he tried to buy bulk black powder in the same Killeen gun store where Army Major Nidal Hasan had bought the gun he used in a bloody attack on Fort Hood in 2009.
Testimony presented at trial showed that on July 27, 2011, Abdo tried to create and detonate a bomb to kill members of the U.S. armed forces and to shoot survivors of the explosion. Evidence further showed he knowingly possess a .40 caliber semiautomatic pistol while carrying out his plot.
“It’s important to note that this plot was interrupted and a potential tragedy prevented because an alert citizen notified law enforcement of suspicious activity, triggering prompt investigation and intervention. While we in law enforcement will be aggressive in investigating and prosecuting people like Mr. Abdo, we depend on the vigilance of the public in helping ensure the safety of the community,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman.
“This verdict confirms the collective efforts by all of our partners on the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) to address terrorism in any shape or form, whether it be by one or by many,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Armando Fernandez.
Abdo remains in federal custody and faces up to life in federal prison for the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction charge; up to 20 years in federal prison for the attempted murder charge; a mandatory 30 years in prison for each possession of a destructive device in furtherance of a federal crime of violence charge; and a mandatory five years in federal prison for each possession of a firearm in furtherance of a federal crime of violence charge. Sentencing is scheduled for July 20.