(Adds comments from Blair's attorney)
By Rory Carroll
Oct 18 A man from Topeka, Kansas, on Tuesday was
sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for helping a would-be
jihadist's unsuccessful plot to bomb a U.S. military base,
Alexander Blair, 29, pleaded guilty to one count of
conspiracy for helping his friend, John Booker Jr., store
equipment to make a bomb to kill American service members,
Blair admitted that he and Booker plotted to detonate a
vehicle bomb at Fort Riley military base near Manhattan, Kansas.
Prosecutors said that after Blair was arrested and was asked
about the plan to kill service members, Blair said: "That's what
they signed (up) for."
Blair's attorney Chris Joseph said his client has a genetic
condition, Williams syndrome, that made him easily manipulated
and unable to appreciate the gravity of his conduct. A defense
expert testified that he functioned at the level of an 11-year
Joseph said he appreciated that the judge in the case saw
the government's demand for five years in prison as
overreaching. He said no decision has been made yet on whether
Blair's co-defendant Booker, 22, made statements on Facebook
and to FBI agents that he wanted to join Islamic State and kill
people and was willing to die in the process, according to
He was arrested on April 10 in a sting operation in which he
went to Fort Riley with two undercover FBI agents to detonate
what he did not know was an inert bomb, prosecutors said.
Booker pleaded guilty to one count each of attempting to use
a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to destroy
government property with an explosive, according to court
documents. He is awaiting sentencing, but has agreed to spend 30
years in prison in the plea deal.
According to court documents, Blair and Booker shared
extremist views in support of Islamic State and against the U.S.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Sandra Maler)