Waterville man sentenced for conspiring in ISIS-inspired plot
Xavier Pelkey, 20, made a last-minute decision to speak during his sentencing in federal court in Bangor
BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - A man from Waterville who played a role in an ISIS-inspired plot admitted in court Monday he’s not completely deradicalized.
This before the judge sentenced him to 15 years in prison, followed by 20 years of supervised release.
Xavier Pelkey, 20, made a last-minute decision to speak during his sentencing in federal court in Bangor. He says while he doesn’t hold the same beliefs as he did two years ago when he committed the crime, it takes years for a person to become deradicalized.
He says he’s working on it, but it will take therapy and discussions with Islamic scholars to fully change his thought process.
Earlier this year, Pelkey pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.
Before his arrest in February 2022, Pelkey and two other teens he met online discussed plans to attack a mosque in Chicago. In a search of his home, FBI agents found three homemade explosive devices and a hand-painted ISIS flag on the wall.
Pelkey’s defense attorney asked for a six-year sentence, citing Pelkey’s youth and the fact he never followed through on the plot.
The 15 years asked for by prosecutors is the maximum allowed under law for the crime.
“When he jumped up and spoke that was not scripted. That was just Xavier being Xavier, wanting to make sure that the judge heard from him. And I thought that he really helped himself because he described the struggle that he’s had. Understanding that he had become radicalized and understanding that it was wrong and trying to figure out how it came about and trying to undo that thinking. And I could see the anguish he’s been experiencing in his voice as he spoke in court. I thought it was fascinating,” said Chris MacLean, defense attorney.
As part of a plea deal, Pelkey does not have the ability to appeal.
The U.S. Attorney on the case did not want to speak on camera.
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