(WACO, Texas) — The young serviceman convicted of plotting a massacre of his fellow soldiers near Fort Hood in Texas received dual consecutive life sentences today.
Naser Jason Abdo, 22, sat in a Texas court today in a bizarre mask made of white cloth around his mouth and a black mesh covering over his hair and face, a Department of Justice official told ABC News. The life sentences were handed down for attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and for possession of a weapon in furtherance of a federal crime. Abdo got another 60 years for the attempted murder of “officers or employees of the United States,” among other charges.
Abdo, a private first class, was convicted of planning to attack a restaurant full of soldiers near Fort Hood. He had gone AWOL from Fort Campbell in Kentucky after his approved status as a conscientious objector was put on hold while he was investigated for allegedly possessing child pornography.
He was arrested on July 21, 2011 at a Killeen hotel after arousing the suspicions of the staff of a local gun store when he tried to purchase smokeless gunpowder and shotgun and pistol ammunition. A handgun, bomb-making materials and an article from the Al Qaeda magazine “Inspire” called “How to Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom” were found in his room.
Two days after his arrest, Abdo shouted “Nidal Hasan — Fort Hood 2009,” an apparent reference to the 2009 Fort Hood massacre in which Army psychiatrist, Maj. Nidal Hasan, allegedly shot and killed 13 servicemen. Abdo had been previously accused of spitting blood, which he believed to be HIV positive, on his guards. He was convicted in May of several charges relating to the plot.
“Today’s sentencing of Mr. Abdo is a conclusion to an investigation which defines what we hope to do every time, that is to prevent an act of terrorism before it occurs,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Armando Fernandez in a release from the Department of Justice.
Nidal Hasan, the man who allegedly inspired Abdo’s plot, was himself in military court Thursday where he was held in contempt for refusing to shave his beard per military standards.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Laura Goehler, CNN
Brooke Baldwin, CNN
Sonya Hamasaki, CNN
Michael Nedelman, CNN