The Department of Justice sentenced an Illinois resident with up to 162 months in prison for conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State terror group, the Washington Examiner reported.
Edward Schimenti, 39, was given the 13.5-year sentence on Friday after his 2019 conviction on one count of conspiring to provide material support and resources to ISIS and one count of making false statements to the FBI.
Schimenti promoted ISIS and violence on social media, according to the Justice Department. In 2015, he began meeting with undercover FBI employees and others working with law enforcement, declaring his devotion to the Islamic State and its violent goals.
Though former President Donald Trump made great strides in the fight against ISIS, the terrorist movement continues to threaten American society. Under a new Biden administration, it will be important to remain vigilant against all threats of terrorism, including any new actions from ISIS and its supporters.
Planned to travel to Syria
In 2017, Schimenti furnished multiple cellphones to one of the individuals cooperating with authorities. He allegedly intended for the devices to be used as detonator for explosive devices in international ISIS operations.
In April that same year, he drove to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago intending to travel to Syria to fight with ISIS.
Schimenti was not alone in his efforts. Co-defendant Joseph Jones, also 39, was convicted of a conspiracy charge and sentenced in March to 12 years in prison, according to the Examiner.
Just a big teddy bear?
Schimenti told U.S. District Judge Andrea Wood during a sentencing hearing on Friday that he was “just a big teddy bear” and not a terrorist, according to Fox News.
“I have a heart. I have feelings. I have emotions,” he added.
Schimenti also reportedly apologized before his sentencing. He told the judge, “In the end, your honor, really I guess I’m just asking for another chance at life.”
According to the Department of Justice release, the Chicago Joint Terrorism Task Force, comprised of numerous federal, state and local law enforcement agencies investigated the case.
Regardless of Schimenti’s apology or personality, the strong sentence fits the crime. The sentence may also serve as a deterrent to other Americans who seek to partner with terrorist organizations.