Topeka man pleads guilty in car bomb plot

Posted at 3:26 PM, Feb 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-03 16:26:09-05

A Topeka, Kan., man pleaded guilty Wednesday to attempting to detonate a vehicle bomb on the Fort Riley military base, according to a news release from Office of U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom.

John T. Booker Jr., 21, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia of the District of Kansas to one count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and one count of attempted destruction of government property by fire or explosion. The news release states sentencing will be set for a later date, and parties have stipulated to a sentence of 30 years in federal prison.

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The news release states in his guilty plea, Booker admitted he intended to kill American soldiers and to assist ISIL’s fight against the U.S. Booker’s plan called for constructing a bomb containing 1,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate. The news release says Booker intended to trigger the bomb himself and die in the process, and filmed a video he intended Americans to see after his death.

The news release states the bomb Booker constructed was made with inert materials, and the two men working with him were undercover informants for the FBI.

Investigating Booker

According to the news release, the FBI began investigating Booker in March 2014 after he posted on his Facebook page that he wanted to commit jihad. In October 2014, Booker began communicating with an undercover FBI informant. The news release says he told the informant he dreamed of being a fighter in the Middle East and proposed capturing and killing an American soldier.

In March 2015, Booker was introduced to another FBI informant who he believed would help him plan an attack, according to the news release. Booker said he wanted to detonate a suicide bomb. On March 10, 2015, Booker made a video in which he pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the leader of ISIL, according to the news release. He also rented a storage unit in Topeka where the bomb would be assembled.

The news release states on April 10, 2015, Booker and the informants drove to an area near Fort Riley that Booker believed to be a utility gate where they could enter undetected. He was arrested when he made the final connections on the device that he believed would arm the bomb.


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