A woman from Philadelphia was sentenced to eight years in prison for planning to travel to Syria and become a “martyr” for Islamic State.
Keonna Thomas, 33, is the mother of two young children whom she had planned on abandoning to join her ISIS husband with whom she had married via Skype. She became radicalized through the internet.
Speaking for the first time, Thomas said before the sentencing, “I am not an evil or malicious person. I was, I guess at one point, impressionable.”
In handing down the sentence, U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson noted, “What I cannot avoid is that Ms. Thomas took concrete steps to go to Syria and become a martyr. Her becoming a martyr means that somebody else is going to die.”
In other news, a Virginia man who became radicalized in prison was re-arrested just weeks after his release on gun charges. Confidential sources inside the prison said Casey Charles Spain, 28, swore allegiance to self-styled ISIS caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
While in prison he got a tattoo on his cheek that reads “Cop Killa” and one on his back of the ISIS flag, according to court documents. The sources said Spain planned to travel overseas to join in jihad for ISIS.
“Given this information, the FBI began conducting intensive surveillance of Spain immediately upon his release from incarceration,” a spokesperson for United States Attorney Dana Boente said.
Spain was caught in an undercover sting operation trying to obtain an illegal weapon. When confronted he fled on foot but was caught by an FBI SWAT team.
Spain has a violent history. He is a registered sex offender and served in prison for seven years for abduction with the intent to defile.