Man sentenced in ISIS-inspired beheading plot targeting Pamela Geller

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David Wright was sentenced Tuesday to 28 years in prison for his role in leading an Islamic State-inspired plot to behead American blogger Pamela Geller.

On Tuesday, prosecutors and defense attorneys argued in front of a Boston judge, offering differing suggestions for his sentence. The prosecution wanted to sentence 28-year-old Wright to life in prison for his role in the plot, while Wright’s attorneys suggested a much shorter term of only 16 years.

But two months after jurors found him guilty of conspiring to kill Geller on behalf of the terror group, a judge in Boston’s federal courthouse sentenced him to 28-years.

Geller was targeted for her conservative viewpoints, specifically because she organized a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas in 2015.

Prosecutors portrayed Wright as the leader of the conspiracy. Three men, including Wright and his uncle, were displeased with Geller due to her activism in opposition of Islam, as she spearheaded “scores of events across the nation to decry Islamic extremism,” according to the Associated Press.

Prosecutors said Wright obtained long knives in anticipation of the New York woman’s beheading. Wright’s uncle, Ussamah Rahim, told Wright on a recorded phone call that he couldn’t wait to attack Geller.

Happily, the plot was never carried out. But prosecutors said that in addition to plotting a murder, Wright collected dozens of gruesome Islamic State videos and documents which “encouraged violence against Americans, including a manifesto that said America’s days are ‘numbered.’”

Wright’s defense attorneys claimed he never meant any harm, as Wright said he started sharing Islamic State propaganda “because he was desperate for attention and an escape,” and that the plot to kill Geller was just “trash talk.”

Prosecuters accused Wright of trying to “deceive” the court, and pointed to at least two examples of his sincerity:

  • The third man charged in the plot, Nicholas Rovinski, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and testified against Wright.
  • During the recorded phone call between Wright and his uncle, Rahim told Wright he’d planned an attack against police, to which Wright encouraged him, saying it was “beautiful” and suggesting he hide any evidence from his computer before proceeding. A few hours later, Rahim attempted a knife attack on police officers and was shot and killed.

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