Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Topekan Booker Jr. Gets 30 Years

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Topekan Booker Jr. Gets 30 Years

Article excerpt

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- John T. Booker Jr., a Topeka man convicted in a plot to detonate an explosive device at Fort Riley, was sentenced Monday to a life term of 30 years in a federal prison.

Booker, 22, pleaded guilty Feb. 3, 2016, to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to destroy government property by fire or explosion. In exchange for the guilty pleas, a third charge of providing material support to the Islamic State group was dismissed.

Booker was sentenced to 30 years for attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and to 20 years for attempting to destroy government property. The sentences will run concurrently.

After completing the sentences, Booker will be under lifetime supervised release on the conviction of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and a concurrent supervision of three years on the attempting to destroy government property, U.S. District Court Judge Carlos Murguia said.

The facts of the case show Booker has a great disregard for life and injury to many people, the judge said.

Booker wasn't fined.

During a rambling statement he made to Murguia, Booker complained he wasn't given help to deal with his mental health issues.

If he had received money to help him deal with his problems, Booker wouldn't be in court facing two sentences Monday, Booker told the judge.

However, after Booker's sentencing, FBI officials disagreed with Booker, saying FBI agents, who initially identified themselves to Booker as federal agents, had sought to aid Booker with his mental health problems, sometimes driving him to appointments if he needed transportation.

To help Booker, the FBI also contacted a local Topeka mosque, contacted Imam Omar Hazim at the mosque to talk to Booker and attempted to get people in the mosque to aid Booker, Tapp said.

The FBI met with Booker's family, who said they had done everything they could to help him, Tapp said.

Agents monitored Booker to see whether he had changed, Tapp said.

But when Booker's behavior and his radical beliefs continued, then the FBI conducted an undercover operation and arrested him after he agreed to detonate what he thought was an explosive device at Fort Riley, Darren E. …

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