SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A federal judge in Sacramento sentenced a man on Tuesday to 12 years in prison for attempting to join Islamic extremists in Syria.
U.S. District Court Judge John Mendez said that terrorism had become a zero-tolerance crime, as he issued the sentence against 22-year-old Nicholas Teausant, which also includes 25 years of supervision after his release.
"There is no margin for error. It is the court's responsibility to fashion a sentence to reduce any risk you might pose in the future," Mendez said.
Mendez announced the sentence following an apology from Teausant, the Sacramento Bee reported.
"I want to say I'm very sorry," Teausant said as he read his hand-written remarks from a yellow slip of paper. "I wanted to be part of something.
"I didn't think my life was worth anything."
Teausant pleaded guilty in December to one count of attempting to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization.
He was arrested in March 2014 in Washington state. Authorities said he planned to travel to Canada and then on to Syria to join the Islamic State group and discussed his plans with a friend who was actually an FBI informant.
"Mr. Teausant was fixated on violence as documented by his social media posts, his pre-arrest statements, and the nature of the group he attempted to join," said acting U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert.
Teausant's lawyers said he had a mental illness that made him vulnerable to the informant and had no real plans of joining the group. He had previously been found incompetent to stand trial but was ruled competent in August.