U.S.-born terrorist pleads guilty in ‘mini al Qaeda’ case
A New Yorker accused of trying to start what prosecutors called “a mini al Qaeda cell” pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges of conspiracy and providing material support to a terrorist organization.
An indictment had alleged that Wesam El-Hanafi pledged loyalty to al Qaeda and sought to teach the terror group how to evade detection on the Internet after he went to Yemen in 2008.
The Brooklyn-born El-Hanafi admitted in federal court in Manhattan to having conversations in 2009 with a co-defendant about “seeking out additional contacts within al Qaeda.” The co-defendant, Sabirhan Hasanoff, pleaded guilty to similar charges earlier this month.
Prosecutors had portrayed the two U.S. citizens as a new, more sophisticated breed of homegrown terrorist: Both had earned college degrees and landed well-paying jobs before trying to share their expertise with al Qaeda.
El-Hanafi, 37, faces up to 20 years in prison.
State’s top court delays killer’s Wednesday execution
COLUMBUS | The Ohio Supreme Court on Monday delayed a condemned inmate’s scheduled Wednesday execution after a judge’s ruling that the inmate is too mentally ill to be put to death.
The court’s decision means Abdul Awkal is now months or even years away from execution after coming within a few hours of dying by lethal injection June 6. He was sentenced to die for the 1992 killing of his estranged wife and brother-in-law.
Hitchhiker’s shooting seen as publicity stunt
BILLINGS | A hitchhiker’s tale of being shot in a random drive-by along a rural Montana highway unraveled when no gun could be found in the supposed perpetrator’s pickup, authorities said Monday.
Ray Dolin told police earlier this month that he had been shot while traveling across the country to put together a photo memoir on the kindness of people he met along the way.