Judge sentences 2nd man in beheading plot to 15 years
BOSTON (AP) — A Rhode Island man was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison Wednesday after admitting to participating in a plot to behead a conservative blogger on behalf of the Islamic State group.
The sentencing of Nicholas Rovinski, of Warwick, came one day after David Wright, of Everett, Massachusetts, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Boston to 28 years in prison in connection with the same plot.
Rovinski testified against Wright after pleading guilty to conspiracy for his role in the plot to kill Pamela Geller, who organized a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, in 2015.
Prosecutors deemed Wright the “mastermind” of the plot.
The Providence Journal reported that Judge William Young accepted recommendations from both the prosecution and defense that Rovinski receive a 15-year sentence, the minimum allowable under federal law.
Speaking at his sentencing, an emotional Rovinski — who has cerebral palsy — condemned terrorism and his own actions, adding he was thankful to be given a “second chance” after the completion of his sentence.
“As for my future, I hope to contribute to my country in a meaningful way,” he said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Siegmann said prosecutors took into account Rovinski’s cooperation in Wrights’ trial. The two men met via Facebook in 2014.
“It is clear he was a mere follower as compared to Mr. Wright,” she said.
The plot to behead Geller, of New York, was never carried out. Instead, Wright’s uncle Ussamah Rahim told Wright on a recorded phone call that he decided to go after “those boys in blue,” referring to police. Wright told his uncle that was “beautiful” and encouraged him to delete all the data from his computer before carrying out his attack.
Hours later, Rahim was fatally shot by authorities after he lunged at them with a knife when they approached him in Boston.
On Tuesday, Geller urged the judge to impose a life sentenced on Wright and said it was “impossible to overstate the devastation” he had brought to her life.
Wright apologized to Geller and denounced the Islamic State group that he had once supported.