Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Federal Judge Delays Alexander Blair's Sentencing for a Second Time

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Federal Judge Delays Alexander Blair's Sentencing for a Second Time

Article excerpt

Fifteen days after granting himself more time to consider the decision, U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree told Alexander Blair on Thursday afternoon he still is not prepared to sentence him for loaning $100 to an Islamic State supporter.

"I apologize to you, Mr. Blair, and your family," the judge said. "I know you want to know what your sentence is."

The holdup is federal sentencing recommendations that Crabtree said he is unsure about. The guidelines are nonbinding to Blair's case. Under a plea agreement, he can be sentenced to a minimum of probation and maximum of five years in prison.

Blair, 29, was emotional when Crabtree announced his delay and in conversations with his family afterward. His mother, Jane Blair, said she is eager for the legal wrangling to end.

"I wish (Crabtree) would just make his mind up on what he wants to do and do it," she said.

The next sentencing hearing, which will be the third, is tentatively scheduled for the afternoon of Oct. 18.

Blair pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge May 23 for loaning $100 to John Booker Jr. in March of 2015 as Booker was amassing what he believed were bomb-making materials for a terrorist attack on Fort Riley.

Booker's supposed co-conspirators were Federal Bureau of Investigation informants and the bomb materials were inert. Booker was arrested April 10, 2015, and pleaded guilty to a terrorism charge as part of an agreement that will send him to prison for 30 years.

On Aug. 24, Crabtree heard hours of testimony during a sentencing hearing for Blair but ultimately delayed his decision, saying he was not prepared to sentence him. Crabtree called the sentencing "one of the most unique, nuanced decisions" in his career.

That is due, in large part, to Williams syndrome. Blair was diagnosed with the condition as a child and has been hindered by it since, leaving him with below-average intelligence and memory but high levels of gregariousness. …

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