Admitted Islamic beheading plotter was director of special education at Sterling Montessori Academy and Charter School in Morrisville, North Carolina.
RALEIGH, N.C. — Two people pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges that they plotted to behead witnesses from a terrorism trial involving several Triangle men.
Nevine Aly Elshiekh, 47, and Shkumbin Sherifi, 22, each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder for hire. They are scheduled to be sentenced in February, when they face up to 10 years in prison.
Elshiekh and Sherifi were arrested in January after an FBI sting in which Sherifi’s brother, Hysen Sherifi, allegedly tried to have three witnesses in his October 2011 federal terrorism trial killed.
Hysen Sherifi, 27, was sentenced in January to 45 years in prison for plotting to attack the U.S. Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va., as well as targets overseas. Six other men also are serving federal prison sentences for their roles in the terror cell.
Court records show that an FBI informant posing as a hit man accepted a $750 down payment on a killing from Elshiekh, who also provided the informant with the names of the people to be killed.
Shkumbin Sherifi later paid the informant $4,250 for the first killing, and the informant showed him doctored photos that appeared to show a beheaded corpse in a shallow grave as a way of confirming that he had killed a witness, according to court records.
Defense attorneys for Elshiekh, a former special education teacher at Sterling Montessori Academy and Charter School in Morrisville, had maintained that she was a pawn in the alleged plot.
She struck up a relationship with Hysen Sherifi after his trial, which she attended because she is a family friend of Omar Hassan, another member of the terror cell who was tried along with Sherifi.
Her attorneys said she was just a courier who passed along information from Hysen Sherifi and never knew that he wanted people beheaded.
Aly Elshiekh, a retired North Carolina State University professor, declined to comment on his daughter’s plea, saying only that he believes in the U.S. justice system.
Defense attorney James Payne said pleading guilty was difficult for Shkumbin Sherifi.
“He was ready and willing to come forward and do the right thing,” Payne said.
As part of their plea agreements, Elshiekh and Shkumbin Sherifi could testify against Hysen Sherifi when his trial begins next week.
Notice anything obvious missing from this article?
Reporter Julia Sims and/or Web Editor Matthew Burns made sure that reality is kept from the public. Jihad, Islam, Muslim, Islamic jihad, sharia – nowhere to be found in this article or others online. Another source, the Charlotte Observer, is equally non-descriptive yet slipped in their back story:
Three years ago, eight men were accused of stockpiling weapons in rural Johnston County and conspiring to commit jihad overseas.
In August, Daniel Patrick Boyd, the man prosecutors described as the ringleader of a homegrown terror cell, was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
They were plotting jihad in the U.S. too, on a USMC base at Quantico.
The federal accusations in July 2009 were that eight men had been amassing weapons and plotting to maim, injure and kidnap people abroad and at a stateside military base.
Boyd, 42, pleaded guilty in February 2011 to conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and conspiring to murder persons abroad. His sons – Dylan Boyd, 24, and Zakariya Boyd, 21 – also accepted plea deals in exchange for their testimony against other suspects, including Hysen Sherifi, 27, accused in the murder-for-hire plot.
Sherifi and three others fought the terror accusations at trial but were unsuccessful.
In October 2011, a federal jury convicted Hysen Sherifi, Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, 25, and Ziyad Yaghi, 24.
Hassan and Yaghi were found guilty of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists. Yaghi was convicted also of conspiring to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons in a foreign country. Hassan received a 15-year prison term, and Yaghi received 31 years in prison.
Sherifi was found guilty of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists; conspiring to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons in a foreign country; two counts of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence; and conspiring to kill a federal officer or employee. He was sentenced to 45 years in prison.
Boyd ‘s two sons received the lightest sentences in the case. Zakariya Boyd received a nine-year sentence for conspiring to provide material support to terrorists. Dylan Boyd was sentenced to eight years in prison for aiding and abetting a conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.
Dozens of posts on the North Carolina jihadists and their support from the Muslim community and Muslim Brotherhood linked groups in the U.S. – here.