NEW YORK – A New Jersey man who from small bombs in two states, including a pressure cooker device that blasted shrapnel in a New York City block, was on Tuesday sentenced to multiple terms of life in prison by a judge who repeatedly called it a miracle no one was killed.
Ahmad Khan Rahimi, a naturalized citizen of the u.s. born in Afghanistan, was criticized by a prosecutor for not showing remorse and was yelled at by a victim, not apologizing for the 30 people he injured.
U. S. District Judge Richard M. Berman in Manhattan said that it was difficult to reconcile with the “reasonable enough,” the man he saw in the court with the terrorist who tried to kill as many people as he could, when he left his home in the early morning of Sept. 17, 2016, with two pressure-cooker explosives and a bag full of smaller bombs.
“You sound just like most of the people and yet his actions are totally in contradiction with your voice,” Berman said.
“We saw videos,” he said, referencing multiple videos on the fall test showed that Rahimi drag bombs in two suitcases and a backpack through the streets of Manhattan, setting one down a half hour before it explodes in the chic district of Chelsea and a few blocks away, which was discovered and disabled before it could explode.
“It is really difficult to reconcile with the way in which you appear in the court to that other behavior,” Berman said.
Regardless, the judge said, Rahimi earned life multiple prison sentences. A life term was mandatory, but the judge exercised his discretion by imposing life sentences is true that Rahimi’s lawyer said it earned only 15 years in prison. He ordered $562,803 in restitution.
Berman called Rahimi, 30, a “clear and present danger” and said that it was too big a risk not to impose a life sentence, especially after Rahimi offered “not one ounce of justification” for his crimes.
The Chelsea explosion happened a few hours after a small pipe bomb exploded along a Marine Corps road race in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, frightening the participants, but injuring no one.
The bombing led to a two-day manhunt ended in a shootout with the police in Linden, New Jersey. Rahimi was shot several times but survived. Police officers were injured.
Given a chance to speak, Rahimi, shackled at the ankles, portrayed himself as a victim says that he came to America as a 7-year-old boy with no hate for everyone and was raised by a father in a family where there was no mention of what his father experienced during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
He described how his father went to law enforcement on multiple occasions to report suspicious behavior that he had seen in his son, but eventually felt left in the lurch.
“I don’t harbor hate for anyone,” Rahimi said before describing how he believed law enforcement targeted him once, he was a practicing Muslim.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Shawn Crowley immediately followed Rahimi, he says, “blame everyone” after causing so much destruction by means of crimes” fueled by hate.”
“He has no regrets,” Crowley said. “He is proud of what he has done.”
They described Rahimi’s efforts to radicalize fellow prisoners in the federal prison in New York, where he has been imprisoned since his arrest.
Rahimi, prosecutors said, gave the prisoners copies of terrorist propaganda and jihadist materials, including speeches and lectures of al-Qaida founder Osama bin laden and Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric who inspired attacks on America and was killed in a U.S. airstrike in September 2011.
Rahimi also allowed some prisoners to view materials on his laptop, or the provided electronic copies as he spread “The Book of Jihad,” bomb-making instructions and the different aspects of a propaganda magazine.
Lawyer Xavier Donaldson called it ironic that his client had once aspired to be a police officer and works as a security guard after studying criminal justice at a community college.
He insisted on a sentence is not based on what people think that terrorists are able to inspire, or the fear that they may cause.
After the verdict was announced, Berman invited number of victims look at the procedure to speak.
Pauline Nelson, 48, Brooklyn, and ran to the stage. She was admitted to the hospital, when the car she was driving was rocked by an explosion. She is still being treated for muscle spasms in her back.
“You never apologized to anyone in the courtroom,” she said, staring at the bearded Rahimi, who sat at the defense table, chains on his ankles. “You have no remorse for what you’ve done.”