CHICAGO (AP) — An aunt of two suburban Chicago men accused of plotting a terrorist attack on a military facility in northern Illinois said Monday the allegations perplexed and devastated their extended family of Muslims and Christians.
Tiffany Edmonds spoke to reporters after a brief detention hearing in Chicago for Hasan Edmonds, a 22-year-old member of the Illinois Army National Guard. His cousin, Jonas Edmonds, 29, was also arrested and charged last week.
"They're not monsters," Tiffany Edmonds said Monday.
Judge Sheila Finnegan granted a defense lawyer's request for more time to examine evidence, ruling that Hasan Edmonds will stay in jail at least until the bond issue is revisited. His older cousin didn't challenge his detention.
A complaint unsealed Thursday alleges Hasan Edmonds sent Internet messages vowing to "cause as much ... mayhem as possible." The alleged plan was for him to travel abroad to join Islamic State fighters while his older cousin attacked an unidentified military installation in Illinois. Both men are charged with conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist group, the Islamic State group. An arraignment date hasn't been set.
Their sometimes-tearful aunt portrayed her nephews from Aurora as fun-loving and outgoing. If they became ensnared in any wrongdoing, she said Monday, they must have been lured into it. Tiffany Edmonds, of Gary, Indiana, describes the family as patriotic and said two of Hasan Edmonds' sisters also joined the National Guard.
"They joined ... to protect our country," she said about her nephew and two nieces.
Hasan and Jonas Edmonds became Muslims around ten years ago, she said. Others in their large family also converted, while others remained Christian, including Jonas' mother, she said.
"The whole family is taking this hard," she said. "This is ... a nightmare."