Two cousins from Illinois, former U.S. Army National Guard Specialist Hasan Edmonds and Jonas Edmonds, have been sentenced to 30 and 21 years, respectively, the maximum prison term they were each facing for pleading guilty to conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).
The cousins, both U.S. citizens from Aurora, Illinois, had devised a plot for Hasan, now 24 and a National Guardsman at the time, to travel abroad and use his military training to fight on behalf of the Islamic State, while his cousin Jonas, 31, launched an attack using AK-47 assault rifles and grenades to kill up to 150 soldiers at the Illinois’ Joliet Armory as he was wearing one of Hasan’s National Guard uniforms as a disguise.
Hasan had trained with the Illinois National Guard at the base in Joliet. Under the plot, the convicted traitor was to provide Jonas with a list of fellow officers to kill, instructing him to target high-ranking officers first: “See the stripes, take the shot.”
“Had law enforcement not interceded, the defendant’s attack could potentially have rivaled other ISIL-inspired attacks in Paris and California,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum in Jonas Edmonds’ case, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). “The impact of the attack – on National Guard members, their families, and this nation’s psyche – would have been devastating.”
Federal prosecutors in Illinois succeeded in convincing the judge at the Chicago federal court hearing the case that at least the ex-National Guardsman deserved the maximum 30-year sentence he was facing.
“Betraying one’s country while in its service is a particularly grave crime,” argued the prosecution, according to the Associated Press (AP), which added that the plot is “a contemptible betrayal of both the Nation’s trust and his fellow soldiers.”
Citing a government sentencing memorandum filed August 19, AP points out, Hasan “deserves the stiffest penalty available under the law because he violated the oath he took when he joined the National Guard to defend the United States against all enemies.”
Both criminals were arrested on March 25, 2015, before any attack was carried out. Hasan was apprehended after his cousin dropped him off at the Chicago airport for his planned trip overseas to join the Islamic State and Jonas was detained at his home soon thereafter.
Under a plea agreement, Hasan pleaded guilty in December 2015 to federal charges that he conspired with his cousin Jonas to provide material support to the Islamic State in the Middle East.
Specifically, Hasan pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiring and attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist group and was facing and received a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. The DOJ press release announcing his sentence failed to mention anything about the $500,000 fine he was also facing.
Jonas, also under a plea agreement in December 2015, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist group and one count of making a materially false statement to a law enforcement officer regarding an offense involving international terrorism.
He was facing and received a maximum sentence of 23 years behind bars.