Lindenwold Teenager Accused of Planning to Assassinate Pope During Visit to Philadelphia
A teenager from Lindenwold NJ recently pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges stemming from an alleged plot to assassinate Pope Francis. Investigators determined that the suspect was inspired by ISIS to commit the act of terrorism.
The suspect, a 17-year-old resident of Lindenwold in Camden County, New Jersey, was accused of plotting to murder the Pope when he visited Philadelphia PA in September 2015. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the suspect reached out to an adult male whom he believed was a sniper. It turned out that the other person was an undercover operative for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The teen suspect’s plan was reportedly to shoot Pope Francis when he attended Papal mass during a visit to Philly. The suspect also allegedly hoped to cause further chaos by triggering bombs and other explosive devices to go off during the mass. Authorities alleged that the suspect asked the undercover agent to purchase bomb-making materials.
The assassination attempt was thwarted when FBI agents swooped in and placed the suspect under arrest while he reportedly checked out Philadelphia locations where he intended to plant bombs.
Federal prosecutors decided to charge the suspect with attempting to provide material support to terrorists, a very serious criminal offense that carries severe penalties. Although the suspect is a juvenile, he was charged as an adult. This means that he could potentially be sentenced to a term of incarceration of 15 years in a federal penitentiary and fined up to $250,000. (The suspect was initially charged as a minor, but the charges were later amended so that he would be charged as an adult.)
The suspect ultimately avoided trial in the case by reaching a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The teenage suspect recently appeared in US District Court in Newark NJ so that he could formally enter the guilty plea and admit to the murder plot. An official sentencing hearing will take place at a later date.
If you have been charged with a violent crime in New Jersey, you should speak with a criminal defense attorney who understands the nuances of the criminal justice system. Jill R. Cohen, Esq., is an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can help you throughout the legal process. Contact The Law Offices of Jill R. Cohen now to schedule a consultation about your case.