Former Army trainee converts to Islam, then plots a massacre at U.S. military base, in order to raise his status as a devout Muslim.
Columbia Tribune (h/t Amil I) A 20-year sentence and lifetime supervision will deter Robert Lorenzo Hester, Jr. and others like him from from the “clarion call” of the Islamic State, federal prosecutors wrote in a memorandum seeking the maximum penalty for a Columbia man who pleaded guilty to aiding terrorists.
In opposition to the long sentence, defense attorneys for the 28-year-old who plotted to attack transportation services in Kansas City and other acts over the course of several months argue mental health issues combined with a mockery of his race and intellect by fellow soldiers led him to extremists ideologies.
Hester pleaded guilty in September before U.S. District Judge Greg Kays and will be sentenced March 4 in Kansas City. Discharged from the U.S. Army shortly after basic training in 2013, Hester over the next several years turned to Islamic extremism, eventually preparing to wage war against the United States.
Assistant U.S. attorneys Brian Casey and David Raskin wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed Tuesday that the risk of violence Hester created should not be underestimated.
“Hester repeatedly glorified violence, and proclaimed his excitement to help ISIS carry out a terrorist attack,” prosecutors wrote. “Hester thought he was assisting in a plan to cause widespread deaths, doing everything he could to help. Hester did not act in a vacuum. His conduct was part of a larger movement of growing support for ISIS in the United States and abroad.”
Federal public defender Troy Stabenow is seeking a 15-year sentence for Hester. He writes in his motion for sentencing that a combination of societal factors drew Hester to ISIS.
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