Finally a judge who does his job. The Saudi jihadist would have killed Americans. And Muslims around the world would have cheered him.
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Judge Donald Walter sentenced Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, a Saudi Arabia man convicted in a failed bomb plot, to life in prison Tuesday. Aldawsari looked different than he did during his trial five months ago. His hair had grown out and he had clearly lost a significant amount of weight.
Jurors convicted the former Texas Tech University student in June of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction in 2011.
It only took about thirty minutes for the judge to deliver the life sentence. However, Walter was clearly torn in his decision-making process saying, “I cannot remember a case in 27 years that has given me this much difficulty.” At one point judge Walter even said he “didn’t know what to do”.
The judge did deny the prosecution’s request to call a bomb expert to the stand and to show a video on explosives.
The defense, led by Dan Codgell, stayed to their argument that no weapon of mass destruction was actually ever created. They also made comparisons to other cases in which attacks had been executed and the defendants were issues a lighter sentence. The defense asked the judge to be fair in his sentencing.
The judge said that he wrestled with the fact that Aldawsari had no previous history of this type of behavior. He directly asked Aldawsari what happened to make him change.
Aldawsari addressed the judge quietly, saying that he was happy when he was a student at Vanderbilt and that life changed when he came to Texas Tech. “I did not have a friend. I was alone and was isolated for a long time,” Aldawsari said.
He apologized many times, but told the judge “at the end, none of the actions have caused harm to the United States.”
After listening to Mr. Aldawsari, Judge Walter said he considered all the factors and he understood the progression. But, he said, “bottom line, you would have done it.”
Aldawsari stood emotionless while he was sentenced to life in prison.
Aldawsari will not be eligible for parole. He does have plans to appeal the sentence but will have to do so with another defense team. Aldawsari will be transported back to the Lubbock county jail where he will await his assignment to a federal prison.
Video at the link above says the Saudi’s believe it was a fair trial but want him to serve his sentence in Saudi Arabia. Pretty sure this judge is not going to allow that. He should order the Saudi’s to pay for their exchange students incarceration costs though.
Apparently the KCBD editor was afraid to use the full quote:
“But the bottom line is that but by the grace of God there would be dead Americans,” Walter said. “You would have done it. In every step, it was you all alone.”
Prosecutors said other targets he researched included nuclear power plants and the homes of three former soldiers who were stationed at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Potential targets he listed in emails sent to himself included hydroelectric dams, nuclear power plants, reservoirs in Colorado and California, and Bush’s home, which he referred to as the “Tyrant’s House.”
Aldawsari wrote in one journal entry, “And now, after mastering the English language, learning how to build explosives and continuous planning to target the infidel Americans, it is time for Jihad,” authorities said.
Prosecutors offered to show the judge a video of the possible damage Aldawsari could have done had he succeeded in assembling explosives. Walter declined.
“I’m fully aware of what 15 pounds of plastic can do,” he said.
The FBI said Aldawsari did Internet searches that suggested he was considering concealing explosives in infant dolls or targeting a nightclub with an explosive concealed in a backpack.
He bought other ingredients needed to make an explosive device as well as a soldering kit, glass beakers and flasks and emailed himself instructions for turning a cell phone into a remote detonator, authorities said.
He also wrote in his notebooks about the steps needed to stage a bombing, including renting cars using different driver’s licenses, setting up a remote detonation and planning a safe exit, the FBI said.
Back stories here.
And still online, Terror suspect’s blog gives insight to his plans.