Soldier gets life terms for Fort Hood plot
WACO, Texas – Shortly after quietly vowing in court to continue to wage jihad against Americans, Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo was sentenced Friday to two consecutive life sentences, plus 60 years in prison, for plotting to bomb and shoot Fort Hood soldiers in 2011.
Abdo, 22, will not be eligible for parole.
Wearing black-and-gray striped jail clothes with his arms and legs shackled, Abdo told U.S. District Judge Walter Smith that his plans for violence were motivated by “crimes committed by this country” and its military against Muslims and by his treatment when he struggled to obtain conscientious objector status as a Muslim facing deployment to Afghanistan.
“I have continued to answer the call of jihad and will continue to the day I am called to account for my deeds,” Abdo said, adding that he traveled to Fort Hood last year in “discharge of my imminently clear responsibility to Islam.” Jihad is an Arabic word meaning struggle and, in some Islamic contexts, can mean holy war.
“I don’t ask the court for mercy because Allah is the one who gives me mercy,” Abdo said.
Smith imposed the sentence without comment.
According to testimony at his three-day trial in May, Abdo, who was AWOL from Fort Campbell, Ky., planned to detonate a homemade bomb inside a Killeen restaurant popular with Fort Hood soldiers, then shoot the survivors.
He was arrested in July 2011 at a motel outside Fort Hood after a Killeen gun store clerk called police to report that Abdo had been acting suspiciously – wearing dark sunglasses, acting aggressively and seeming to know little about the items he was purchasing, including 6 pounds of gunpowder and shotgun ammunition.
A search of his room and backpack found bomb-making equipment – including pressure cookers, clocks and electrical tape – a pistol and an article on assembling bombs from an English-language al-Qaida magazine.
Abdo later told investigators that “he was to the point of building and detonating a device that day or the following day,” lead prosecutor Mark Frazier said.
On Friday, Abdo was sentenced to two consecutive life terms for the charge of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and for possession of a weapon to commit violence. Smith added consecutive prison terms totaling 60 years for attempted murder of federal officers or employees and other weapons charges.
Outside of court, prosecutors and law enforcement officials praised the combined efforts of civilians and investigators in thwarting Abdo’s planned attack.