American gets life for planned terrorist attack

George Tzokas
By George Tzokas
June 28, 2017US News
American gets life for planned terrorist attack

A young North Carolina man described as shy and socially awkward was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday for plotting to kill hundreds of people in a nightclub or concert after being radicalized by ISIS.

Justin Nojan Sullivan, 21, pled guilty late last year to the plot which was foiled after his father, an ex-marine called authorities to report his son.

Fearing interference by his parents after his mother discovered a silencer he had mailed to him, Sullivan attempted to pay an FBI agent posing as an ISIS supporter to kill his parents so they would not stop the planned attack.

The sentence was handed down in federal court in Asheville, North Carolina.  Prosecutors say the case illustrates the dangers of Americans being radicalized through social media.

Sullivan had not yet purchased the AR-15 rifle, nor the hollow-point ammunition he planned to use in the attack. The silencer was intended to allow him to hide his position, allowing him to kill more people.

His father, Rick Sullivan, had mixed feelings towards the verdict.

“We’re his parents. We’re not, we’re not happy, but as Americans I accept it,” he said.

While the father said he loved his son, he said he could not forgive him.

Sullivan was still a teenager teenager in the small town of Morganton when he began watching terrorist beheadings and other Islamic State propaganda online.

Vicki Jayne, his defence attorney, said emotional issues played a role in her client’s behavior.

“From a very early age, and I’m talking eight or nine years old, he has suffered from real depression,” she said.

Authorities say Sullivan admitted to frequent online chats with now-dead Syria-based ISIS recruiter and propagandist Junaid Hussain.

Hussain asked Sullivan to make a video of his planned attack so it could be used as part of online recruitment efforts. Sullivan agreed.

He was arrested at his parents’ house in June 2015.

He also faces a state murder charge after authorities say he took a rifle from his father’s gun cabinet and killed neighbour 74-year-old John Bailey Clarke in his home as he slept in December 2014.

Court documents say Sullivan took the man’s money to use for his terror plot.


Matthew Little for NTD

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