- Associated Press - Thursday, October 20, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - An Arizona prison inmate and his wife have been indicted on state terrorism charges, prosecutors announced Thursday.

Thomas Orville Bastian and Michelle Marie Bastian are accused of plotting to commit an act of terrorism at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis in Buckeye, according to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.

Michelle Bastian, 49, of Florence, was arrested last week after being accused of mailing bomb-making instructions and promotional materials from terrorist groups to the prison in an alleged plot to kill a warden.

Thomas Bastian, 39, is serving a life sentence for a murder conviction in a 2007 shooting death. He’s accused of four felony counts including terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism involving weapons and conspiracy to promote prison contraband.

Prosecutors said Michelle Bastian is facing the same counts as her husband plus one felony count of promoting prison contraband. She allegedly sent articles from al-Qaida and Islamic State magazines that were found in Thomas Bastian’s cell at the Lewis complex.

Authorities said the articles made it past prison security because Michelle Bastian disguised them as legal papers.

Her husband converted to Islam after entering prison and later became radicalized, according to investigators who also said Michelle Bastian mentioned in phone calls with her husband that he’s a supporter of the Islamic State.

A document filed in court by prosecutors said an investigative source told them last month that Michelle Bastian was going to provide the items to carry out the attack. It’s unclear whether the materials needed to build explosives were actually found at the prison.

Authorities said a search of Thomas Bastian’s cell turned up handwritten notes on how to build an explosive device and several pages from al-Qaida’s Inspire magazine that contained instructions on making bombs out of kitchen items.

It wasn’t immediately known Thursday afternoon if the couple has attorneys yet.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said the indictment was the result of an investigation by his office along with Phoenix Field Office of the FBI and the Arizona Department of Corrections.



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