WACO, Texas — Naser Jason Abdo sat alone in court with his hands shackled and a white cloth secured over his mouth and neck. The soldier who went AWOL and plotted to kill other troops outside a Texas Army post remained defiant Friday as he was sentenced to life in prison, not asking for mercy and vowing to never end what he considers his holy war.
Outside court, prosecutor Mark Frazier said Abdo had come close to carrying out the attack. U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman compared the plot to recent mass shootings at a movie theatre near Denver and a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee.
“I will continue until the day the dead are called to account for their deeds,” Abdo said in a low, gravelly voice through the cloth mask.
A federal judge sentenced Abdo, 22, to two life terms plus additional time. The federal prison system offers no chance of parole. He was convicted of planning what he claimed would have been a massive attack on a Texas restaurant filled with troops from Fort Hood.
In court, Abdo referred to Maj. Nidal Hasan — the Army psychiatrist soon to be tried in a deadly shooting rampage at that Army post — as “my brother.” He said he lived in Hasan’s shadow despite “efforts to outdo him.”
Abdo became a Muslim at age 17.
In a police interview, Abdo said he wanted to carry out the attack because he didn’t “appreciate what (his) unit did in Afghanistan.” His plan, he told authorities, was to place a bomb in a busy restaurant filled with soldiers, wait outside and shoot anyone who survived — and become a martyr after police killed him.
WACO, Texas — Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo, a Muslim soldier who was AWOL from Fort Campbell, Ky., is accused of planning to bomb a Killeen restaurant filled with Fort Hood soldiers and shoot any survivors last summer. Jury selection was scheduled to start Monday at his federal trial in Waco, about 50 miles northeast of Killeen, the city just outside Fort Hood.
Abdo, 22, faces up to life in prison if convicted of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, the most serious of the six charges on which he’s being tried.
Abdo, who was born in Texas and grew up in a Dallas suburb, became a Muslim when he was 17. He enlisted in the military in 2009, thinking that the service wouldn’t conflict with his religious beliefs. But according to his essay that was part of his conscientious objector status application, Abdo reconsidered as he explored Islam further.
In that essay, which he sent to The Associated Press in 2010, Abdo said acts like the 2009 Fort Hood shootings “run counter to what I believe in as a Muslim” and were “an act of aggression by a man and not by Islam.”
KILLEEN, Texas — An AWOL infantry soldier caught with weapons and a bomb inside a backpack admitted planning what would have been Fort Hood’s second terrorist attack in less than two years, the Army said Thursday. He might have succeeded at carrying it out, police said, if a gun-store clerk hadn’t alerted them to the man’s suspicious activity.
“We would probably be here today, giving you a different briefing, had he not been stopped,” Killeen Police Chief Dennis Baldwin said, calling the plan a “terror plot.”
The 21-year-old suspect, Pfc. Naser Abdo, was arrested Wednesday at a motel about three miles from Fort Hood’s main gate. He had spoken out against the 2009 Fort Hood shootings last year as he made a public plea to be granted conscientious objector status to avoid serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.