CHICAGO — Prosecutors want a federal judge next month to impose the maximum 30-year prison sentence on a former Illinois National Guard soldier who plotted to attack a military armory in his home state, saying in a new filing that "betraying one's country while in its service is a particularly grave crime."
Hasan Edmonds, 23, of Aurora, deserves the stiffest penalty available under the law because he violated the oath he took when he joined the National Guard to defend the United States against all enemies, a government sentencing memorandum filed Friday in Chicago federal court says.
Edmonds devised a plan for him to travel to the Middle East and join Islamic State fighters while his cousin, 30-year-old Jonas Edmonds, attacked the National Guard armory in Joliet. The goal, prosecutors say, was to kill as many as 150 people at the facility.
The filing calls Hasan Edmonds' plot "a contemptible betrayal of both the Nation's trust and his fellow soldiers."
Under plea agreements, Hasan Edmonds pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Jonas Edmonds pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and lying to federal agents.
The cousins, both U.S. citizens, are scheduled for sentencing Sept. 16. Jonas Edmonds faces a maximum 23-year prison term. Prosecutors have asked U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee to also sentence the men to lifetime periods of supervised release once out of prison.
After dropping his cousin off at Chicago's Midway International Airport on March 25, 2015, Jonas Edmonds went to Hasan' home and collected National Guard uniforms that he planned to wear as a disguise during the armory attack. Hasan Edmonds, filings say, instructed Jonas to kill high-ranking officers first, telling him, "See the stripes, take the shot."
Agents arrested Hasan Edmonds at the airport and detained Jonas Edmonds at his home shortly thereafter.
In filings early this month, Hasan Edmonds' attorney described his client growing up amid violence that included his mother shooting his father. His father converted to Islam in prison and Hasan later followed suit.
In the Guard, the filing says, "Hasan was not only a good soldier, but a trustworthy and dependable friend to others on the base." It blames Jonas Edmonds for leading the younger Edmonds astray, saying Hasan became "infected by his cousin's distorted and ultimately destructive visions" of Islam.