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Kansas man Charged in Islamic State Bomb Plot to Change Plea: Court

( [email protected] ) Dec 17, 2015 02:44 PM EST
A Kansas man accused of plotting a suicide car bombing at a U.S. Army base in support of the Islamic State militant group intends to change his not guilty plea, according to a court filing on Thursday.
A resident of Tabqa city touring the streets on a motorcycle waves an Islamist flag in celebration after Islamic State militants took over Tabqa air base, in nearby Raqqa city, Syria, August 24, 2014. Reuters

A Kansas man accused of plotting a suicide car bombing at a U.S. Army base in support of the Islamic State militant group intends to change his not guilty plea, according to a court filing on Thursday.

John T. Booker Jr. notified the court on Wednesday he intends to change his plea, according to the U.S. District Court in Topeka, Kansas.

A hearing on Booker's request was set for Jan. 12 before U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia in Kansas City. An attorney for Booker could not be reached immediately for comment.

According to prosecutors, Booker, who is also known as Muhammad Abdullah Hassan, had arrived at Fort Riley near Manhattan, Kansas, with FBI informants to detonate what the Topeka resident did not realize was an inert bomb.

He had signed up for the U.S. Army in February 2014 and was due to report to basic training in April 2014.

Booker, who was 20 when he was arrested in April, was indicted on three criminal counts, including attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to provide material support to Islamic State fighters, who have captured parts of Iraq and Syria over the past year and have sympathizers in several countries.

Booker, who is still in custody, could be sentenced to up to life in prison if convicted on the charges. The notice did not say to what charges he would be pleading.

Booker had been under investigation since early 2014, according to a criminal complaint.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation began tracking Booker in March 2014 after he posted Facebook messages in which he said: "Getting ready to be killed in jihad is a HUGE adrenaline rush!! I am so nervous. NOT because I'm scared to die but I am eager to meet my lord."

He told FBI agents after the Facebook postings that he had enlisted with the intent of committing an insider attack on U.S. soldiers like the one at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009, according to the complaint. He was denied entry into the army as a result.

He then began engaging with an FBI confidential source in October 2014, the complaint said.