NC man sentenced in conspiracy to behead witnesses from homegrown terrorism trial

RALEIGH, N.C. — A North Carolina man was sentenced Friday to four life terms for plotting to behead federal witnesses whose testimony helped convict him for his role in an earlier plot to slaughter U.S. servicemen and their families.

Hysen Sherifi, 29, was one of six Raleigh-area Muslims convicted in 2011 of planning to attack the Marine base in Quantico, Va., and overseas targets.

Shortly after starting his 45-year prison sentence in the terror case, Sherifi approached another inmate to help him hire a hit man to behead government informants and FBI agents. He recruited his younger brother Shkumbin Sherifi, 23, and former special education teacher Nevine Aly Elshiekh, 48, to help pay the hit man and organize the murders.

But the inmate whose help Sherifi sought turned out to be yet another government informant. FBI agents then staged an elaborate sting that involved secretly videotaped meetings with a woman posing as the go-between for a fictional hit man named Treetop and doctored photos that appeared to show the corpse of a beheaded witness in a shallow grave.