A Massachusetts man inspired by the Islamic State extremist group was sentenced to 28 years in prison on Tuesday for terror charges after plotting to behead a controversial American anti-Islam crusader and blogger.
David Wright, 28, was convicted by a U.S. federal jury in Boston in October of conspiring to provide material support to I.S., conspiring to commit acts of terrorism and obstruct justice, and for obstructing justice.
Born and raised in Massachusetts, he swore allegiance to I.S. and plotted to kill blogger Pamela Geller with his uncle Usaamah Rahim, who was shot and killed after lunging toward police and FBI agents with a knife in Boston in 2015.
A third man, Rhode Island resident Nicholas Rovinski, pleaded guilty last year.
“Wright will be in jail for the rest of my life and that is good,” 59-year-old Geller tweeted on Tuesday in response to the sentencing.
U.S. prosecutors say Wright created a “martyrdom” operation cell and in 2015 published a document that urged the “Lions of America” to kill Americans and identified the New Yorker blogger as the first beheading target.
British-born I.S. jihadist and propagandist, Junaid Hussain, whom the Pentagon said recruited I.S. sympathizers to carry out lone wolf attacks in the west, provided Rahim with encrypted details about Geller, prosecutors said.
Hussain was targeted and killed in an airstrike in Raqa, Syria in August 2015.
Two hours before his uncle attacked Boston police, Wright encouraged and motivated him to pursue martyrdom by attacking the “boys in blue,” prosecutors said.
Geller is president of two anti-Muslim groups, the American Freedom Defense Initiative and Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA). She denounces what she calls “creeping Sharia” in the United States and in 2015 organized a cartoon contest of Islam’s Prophet in Texas that came under attack by two men with assault rifles, both of whom were shot and killed by police.
Her SIOA group has financed anti-Muslim ad campaigns hostile on public transport in New York, San Francisco and Washington. On her blog in 2006, she re-published caricatures of Islam’s Prophet that had sparked deadly protests after their initial publication in Denmark.