By Karen Brooks
(Reuters) - A Georgia man was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison on Tuesday for attempting to support the Islamic State militant group that authorities said he had planned to join before being arrested in Atlanta in 2014, the U.S. Justice Department said.
Leon Nathan Davis III, 38, received the maximum sentence from a U.S. district judge in Savannah, Georgia, after pleading guilty to the charges in May, said Jim Durham, an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.
Davis, of Augusta, Georgia, will also be placed on lifetime supervision after his release, Durham said.
Davis was arrested in October 2014 at the Atlanta airport after purchasing a plane ticket to Turkey, with the intention of traveling to Syria to join the group, according to court records.
Prosecutors on Tuesday read Davis's online writings in the courtroom, including statements that said he wanted "to kill Zionists" and to bring down Israel and, in his words, "the United Snakes of America," Durham said.
Davis told the judge, "I love my country, and I am an American," Durham said.
Davis had been under investigation by the FBI for a year, officials said. His prosecution comes as the U.S. government ramps up efforts to detain would-be Islamic State fighters.
(Reporting by Karen Brooks in Austin, Texas; Editing by Will Dunham)