A federal judge sentenced a Jordanian man to 24 years in prison Tuesday after he admitted plotting to blow up a Dallas skyscraper.
Hosam Smadi's plea agreement signed in May capped his maximum sentence at 30 years. He admitted driving what he thought was a truck bomb into a parking garage beneath a 60-story Dallas skyscraper called Fountain Place. After an undercover agent drove him away from the building, "Smadi then used a cell phone to remotely detonate" the bomb, a statement of facts said. "Smadi believed the bomb would explode and cause extensive damage."
Unlike other unsuccessful terrorists recently in U.S. court, Smadi apologized for his actions before receiving his sentence Tuesday.
"I am so ashamed for what I did," he said. "I am guilty of this ugly, evil crime that targeted innocent people – women and children… I am very sorry for my action… Osama bin Laden is a bad man. I hate al Qaeda."
Earlier in his two-day sentencing hearing, psychiatrists for the defense and the government discussed whether Smadi was a schizophrenic, the Dallas Morning News reports. Smadi's father testified that he abused Hosam as a child, admitting to beating him with sticks and chains, trying to run him over with a car, and choking the boy after he tried to stop his father from beating his mother.
On Tuesday, the government psychiatrist testified that Smadi was faking his condition. U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn told Smadi he did suffer hardships in life, but none justified his actions. Law enforcement officials learned of Smadi's interest in a terrorist attack through his own postings on websites and his attorneys argued that he was manipulated by the FBI into attempting the bombing. The judge didn't buy it.
"The initiation of this contact was you and all you," Judge Lynn told him. " I have not heard an explanation for what moved you to involved yourself with these kinds of websites and invite someone to assist you and provide the tools to you to do damage to this country, but that you did...You professed to love Osama bin Laden.."
Smadi is likely to be deported upon completing his sentence.