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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Teen accused of planning to attack CdA churches in name of Islamic State group pleads not guilty

Alexander Mercurio is shown in this booking photo from the Kootenai County Jail.  (Courtesy)

The 18-year-old who was arrested last week just hours before the FBI said he planned to attack a Coeur d’Alene church pleaded not guilty at a hearing Wednesday morning.

Alexander Mercurio was federally indicted Tuesday on a charge of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Mercurio told The Spokesman-Review in a jail interview Tuesday that he was self-radicalized online and planned to carry out the attack as “retribution” for how Western Christian countries voted for politicians who will interfere in predominantly Muslim countries and attack civilians.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Mercurio waved his right to determine if he could be released from jail pending trial, meaning he will remain behind bars for now.

Mercurio told the judge he could not afford his own attorney. He was represented by a court-appointed attorney at Wednesday’s hearing.