Not to be confused with the Ohio Muslim who pled guilty to supporting al-Qaida and soliciting a hit on a federal judge.
Why weren’t additional charges levied for the threat? Source: Akron terrorism suspect sentenced to 20 years in prison, tells judge ‘you’ll be punished for what you do’ | cleveland.com
CLEVELAND, Ohio — An Akron terrorism suspect sentenced to 20 years in federal prison on Wednesday threatened the judge who handed down the sentence.
Terrence McNeil, 24, made the remarks to U.S. District Judge Dan Polster toward the end of a sentencing hearing on charges that he threatened members of the military and their families in the name of the Islamic State, a terrorist group also known as ISIS
McNeil also said he would be rewarded in the afterlife.
“Nothing you did today even matters. Jihad will continue until the day of judgment,” McNeil said. “And that’s a promise from Allah. It’s not going to change. It’s not going to stop. Neither of them are. My commission of Allah is not going to stop. So this is meaningless. I’ll be rewarded for what I do. You’ll be punished for what you do. I’m fine with that. You’re fine with that. So we’ll wait for the punishment of Allah to afflict you, either by himself or through the hands of the Muslims, and then we’ll see. Inshallah.”
Polster responded, “All right. Mr. McNeil, while I respect your opinion, I think you have confirmed the wisdom of my 20-year sentence.”
The FBI arrested McNeil in November 2015 after he used social-media websites to profess his support for ISIS, prosecutors said. A file he posted Sept. 24, 2015 on his Tumblr page had the header “Islamic State Hacking Division,” followed by “Target: United States Military” and “Leak: Addresses of 100 U.S. Military Personnel.”
The file, first posted by someone else in March 2015, is a .gif, which allows multiple images to be looped. The text of the first file encouraged people who saw it to kill the military members “in their own lands, behead them in their own homes, stab them to death as they walk their streets thinking that they are safe…”, prosecutors said.
He also made similar postings on Twitter and Tumblr at least two other times.
McNeil, who has been in federal custody since his arrest, pleaded guilty in April to 10 terrorism-related charges. While facing a life sentence if he was convicted at trial, McNeil agreed to serve between 15 and 20 years in federal prison.
On Wednesday, McNeil began the sentencing hearing by refusing to stand when the judge entered the room, a customary sign of respect done in most court cases. Before his parting words, he only gave terse “yes” and “no” answers when the judge asked him questions.
His mother looked on from the viewing gallery.
Nathan Ray, McNeil’s attorney, tried to argue for a 15-year sentence. His client, who has never been charged in another criminal case, never took any actions to carry out what he said were his beliefs other than the social media posts, Ray said.
“I don’t believe at the time, he appreciated the magnitude of what he was doing, judge” Ray said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Christos Georgalis disputed this, saying “the whole point of the post was for Mr. McNeil to encourage others to carry out the attacks.”
Georgalis, in arguing for 20 years, also said McNeil researched gun prices from local dealers and had a document that showed how to make a homemade bomb.
He also said some military members and their families took security measures after McNeil made his posts, with some moving and others buying guns or installing home security systems.
“This threat will be there forever,” Georgalis said.
McNeil’s social media accounts were filled with ISIL propaganda and statements such as “I can’t wait for another 9/11, Boston bombing, or Sandy Hook!!!”, according to the government’s sentencing memo.
He posted videos on his Tumblr pages that showed ISIL members killing people by blowing up a car or drowning them in a cage.
Polster said he watched the videos while preparing for McNeil’s planned trial and found them to be truly disturbing.
“I had read about them, but it’s a heck of a lot different reading about then than watching them,” Polster said.
McNeil is expected to pay restitution to the military members who took security measures, though an amount has not yet been set.
Polster is the same judge who previously capitulated to the Muslim supremacist, when After refusing oath, judge asks Muslim terrorist to swear oath “under Allah.”