By Joseph Ax
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A man accused of killing four people in New Jersey and Washington state to avenge U.S. foreign policy kept a journal where he expressed a desire to travel to Iraq to support the Islamic State militant group, according to state prosecutors in New Jersey.
Ali Muhammed Brown was also on a federal terrorism watch list at the time of the killings, a prosecutor said in court on Wednesday, said a spokeswoman for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office in Newark.
Brown, the first defendant to face state terrorism charges in New Jersey, was in court to be sentenced for an unrelated armed robbery. A judge imposed 36-1/2 years in prison.
Authorities say Brown fatally shot 19-year-old Brendan Tevlin while Tevlin was stopped at a traffic light in West Orange, New Jersey, in 2014. Brown has been charged in that case with murder, terrorism counts and other charges.
He has also been accused of three murders in Washington state.
Brown told investigators he carried out the killings in retaliation for U.S. military action in the Middle East, and described himself as a strict Muslim, according to court documents.
In his journal, Brown said he was interested in receiving jihadist training, prosecutors said on Wednesday.
Islamic State controls swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. U.S. authorities have focused in recent years on investigating possible Islamic State-inspired plotters across the country.
The details regarding Brown's journal were first reported by the Associated Press.
His lawyer could not be reached for comment.
(Editing by Frank McGurty and Peter Cooney)