A would-be jihadist from the Jersey Shore is headed to federal prison for at least 16 years after admitting Tuesday that he planned to detonate a pressure-cooker bomb in Manhattan for ISIS.
Gregory Lepsky, 20, of Point Pleasant told a federal judge in Trenton that he began hatching the plan in January 2017, accessing ISIS directives and bomb-making instructions and buying the necessary items to detonate a Boston Marathon-style bomb.
Under the terms of a plea agreement negotiated with federal prosecutors, Lepsky will be sentenced to 16 to 19 years in prison and lifetime supervised release, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito and Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said in a joint announcement.
Sentencing on one count of attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization was scheduled for June 19.
There's no parole in the federal system -- meaning that Lepsky will have to serve nearly the entire term.
Originally insisting his name was Allah Abdel Rochman, Lepsky had his plans revealed when police arrested him for trying to kill the family dog with a combat knife.
Investigators said they found the pressure cooker in a bedroom room closet, along with the book “Martyrdom in Jihad versus Suicide Bombing.”
While in custody, he said he also intended to kill his mother, a complaint filed with the U.S. District Court of New Jersey says.
The complaint says Lepsky downloaded a bomb-making how-to piece published in the Al Qaeda magazine “Inspire.” His cellphone's history included the terms “knife used for beheading,” “how to make anthrax powder” and “terrorist attacks 2016,” it says.
Lepsky also told others on social media that he intended to fight for ISIS and woud become a martyr if necessary.
Carpenito and Demers credited the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force, New Jersey's Attorney General’s Office, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Point Pleasant police and the N.J. Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.
Handling the case for the government is represented are Assistant U.S. Attorney James Donnelly of Carpenito's Criminal Division and Trial Attorney Justin Sher of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
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