Suffolk man pleads guilty to terrorism related charge

Posted at 9:47 AM, Aug 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-16 18:13:00-04

SUFFOLK, Va. - A Suffolk man pleaded guilty Wednesday to a terrorism charge he received for trying to provide support to ISIS.

Lionel Williams

Lionel Williams pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to aid a foreign terrorism organization.

Williams made the plea during a court hearing on Wednesday morning.

FBI agents arrested Williams at his home last December.  Newly released court documents detail the efforts Williams made to send ISIS money, including dressing up in all black with a head scarf to purchase a $200 prepaid Visa gift card at a Walgreens in Suffolk. Williams believed the money was going to help ISIS kill people.

When Williams found out FBI agents were watching him, he told his then girlfriend, "Anyway I want them to know that if I catch them scopin' my house out again, I'm gonna cut his head off; just so they know." The conversations are detailed in a Statement of Facts that Williams signed, acknowledging they are true.

After his arrest, Williams reiterated that he stands with ISIS and that he believed he was part of the "holy war." FBI agents also interviewed a woman in Brazil, with whom Williams had an online relationship. She told agents she didn't know the exact details of Williams' plan, but that he told her he would "go at police with a gun and that he would die as a martyr in the process." She said his plan was to cause a serious incident that would require military assistance.

As part of the plea agreement, both sides agreed to a 20-year sentence, but the judge said she wants to review the case before accepting it.


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