ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A college dropout and Muslim convert who threatened the creators of the "South Park" cartoon series and then tried to join an al-Qaida-linked terror group in Somalia was sentenced Thursday to 25 years in prison.
Zachary A. Chesser, 21, of Bristow, Va., pleaded guilty last year to supporting the al-Shabab terrorist group in Somalia and posting online threats against the "South Park" creators for an episode that he perceived as insulting to the prophet Muhammad.
The 25-year sentence was halfway between the 20-year term sought by the defense and the 30-year maximum sentence sought by prosecutors.
Chesser achieved notoriety on the Internet under the name Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee when he warned the creators of "South Park" that they risked death for mocking Islam. His online propaganda included urgings to leave suspicious packages in public to desensitize authorities to a real bomb threat and instructions on raising children who would grow up to be al-Qaida members.
Later, he tried twice to travel to Somalia to join al-Shabab. The first time, he planned to travel with his wife but was thwarted when his mother-in-law hid his wife's passport. The second time, he took his infant son to the airport with him as cover, thinking that a person traveling with
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