U.S. soldier convicted of bomb plot
A Muslim soldier has been convicted over a failed plot to blow up a Texas restaurant full of US troops, in a religious mission to get "justice" for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Jurors in US District Court in Waco deliberated little more than an hour before finding Pfc Naser Jason Abdo guilty of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempted murder of US officers or employees, and four counts of possessing a weapon in furtherance of a federal crime of violence.
Abdo, 22, did not stand with his lawyers when jurors and the judge entered the room, and showed no emotion when each of the six guilty verdicts was read by the court clerk.
Abdo, who has been accused of spitting blood on authorities escorting him and a jailer, wore a mask covering his nose and mouth throughout the trial. He faces up to life in prison.
US District Judge Walter Smith will sentence him in July.
Prosecutors said Abdo had already started making a bomb when he was detained at a Killeen motel last July after going absent without leave from Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Authorities also found numerous bomb-making components, a loaded gun, 143 rounds of ammunition, a stun gun and other items in his backpack and motel room.
In a recorded police interview, Abdo said he was planning to pull off an attack in the Fort Hood army base area "because I don't appreciate what my unit did in Afghanistan". He told authorities he planned to put the bomb in a busy restaurant filled with soldiers, wait outside and shoot anyone who survived - and become a martyr after police killed him.
Abdo told an investigator that he did not plan an attack inside Fort Hood because he did not believe he would be able to get through security at the gates, the court heard.
During the four-day trial, a recorded jail conversation was played for jurors in which Abdo told his mother his religion inspired his actions and he was seeking "justice" for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. "Their suffering is my suffering," he said.
Abdo's lead lawyer, Zach Boyd, told jurors during closing arguments that Abdo should be acquitted because his plan never progressed beyond preparation.