A Syrian refugee convicted of plotting to blow up a small North Side church with a bomb is headed to federal prison for more than 17 years.
U.S. District Judge Marilyn Horan on Tuesday imposed a term of 208 months on Mustafa Alowemer after a two-day sentencing hearing.
Alowemer, a Northview Heights resident in his early 20s who came to the U.S. in 2016, had admitted to planning to destroy Legacy International Worship Center in the name of ISIS, to which he had pledged allegiance in a self-made video.
His public defenders had argued for leniency on the grounds that he had endured trauma during the Syrian civil war and suffers from post-traumatic stress.
But the U.S. attorney’s office asked for a heavy term, saying he carefully planned the bombing with confederates who turned out to be undercover FBI operatives and didn’t care who died in the blast.
Prosecutors said Alowemer’s bomb, had it been detonated, would have destroyed the church and surrounding homes. They said he also intended to set a second bomb to kill responding police.
In fashioning the sentence, Judge Horan sided with the government in ruling that the terrorism enhancement applies.