RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Two men were sentenced Friday to long prison terms for their roles in a North Carolina-based terror ring that aspired to kill U.S. military personnel.
A federal judge in New Bern sentenced accused ringleader Daniel Patrick Boyd to 18 years. Boyd is a 42-year-old Muslim convert who lived near Raleigh and pleaded guilty in 2011 to charges of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and plotting to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons abroad.
In June, a jury found 36-year-old Anes Subasic guilty of the same charges. The Bosnian native got a 30-year sentence.
Prosecutors said the men were members of a terrorist cell that raised money, stockpiled weapons and trained for jihadist attacks against those they considered enemies of Islam. All seven men convicted as members of the plot, including two of Boyd's sons, were either U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. An eighth indicted man is believed to be in Pakistan.
Dylan Boyd was sentenced in December to eight years in federal prison and Zakariya Boyd was sentenced to nine years.
Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, Ziyad Yaghi and Hysen Sherifi were convicted after a month-long trial held last year around the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, each receiving prison terms of between 15 and 45 years.
The men were convicted following testimony by two FBI informants that members of the group plotted to attack the U.S. Marine Corps base at Quantico, Va., and earlier attempted to travel to Israel with the intent of creating mayhem.
According to WRAL-TV (http://bit.ly/RKE7mS), Boyd was apologetic upon hearing his sentence in the federal courtroom in New Bern.
"That was not me. That was something I allowed myself to become. Please, everyone, as best you can, forgive me," he said.
Boyd, whose father was a Marine officer, said he grew up in a home where the United States was often criticized. Later, stress from family and health issues later allowed him to fall into extremism, he said.
"That very American spirit inside of me pushed me to do what is correct," he said of his cooperation with prosecutors. "There is never a wrong time to do the right thing."
Subasic, meanwhile, repeatedly disrupted the 4-hour hearing by screaming at U.S. District Judge Louise Flanagan and federal prosecutors. Tried separately from the other defendants because he insisted on representing himself, Subasic proclaimed his innocence.
"I'm not guilty. I'm not a terrorist. I'm not Muslim. I can't repent for something I didn't do," he said, arguing that he was convicted by witnesses who lied and flimsy government evidence.
"I have nothing to do with it. This is stupid and retarded," he said.
When prosecutors suggested a life sentence for Subasic, he yelled, "How about two life sentences?"
As she handed down his sentence, U.S. District Court Judge Flanagan called Subasic a "bully" with a "grandiose sense of self-importance," according to WRAL.
Following the conclusion of the case, the prosecutor who supervised the case said federal officials remain committed to sending those who plot violence to prison.
"We must be ever vigilant in the pursuit of those who seek to destroy our way of life," said Thomas G. Walker, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Follow AP writer Michael Biesecker at twitter.com/mbieseck