Accused ISIS plotter in North Carolina charged with earlier murder

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North Carolina Teen Charged with Plot to Support ISIS

Feb 1 (Reuters) - A North Carolina man was indicted on Monday in the murder of a 74-year-old neighbor police said he killed months before federal authorities arrested him on allegations that he planned mass shootings to support Islamic State militants.

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Justin Nojan Sullivan, 19, of Morganton, North Carolina, is charged with murder in the December 2014 slaying of John Bailey Clark, said Burke County District Attorney David Learner.

Sullivan also faces seven federal charges related to supporting Islamic State and plotting murders, according to an 11-page federal indictment unsealed Monday. He faces trial on those charges later this month.

Islamic State is a militant group that controls parts of Syria and Iraq and has vowed attacks on the West.

"Justin Sullivan had elaborate plans to kill hundreds of innocent people to show his support for the terrorist organization, ISIL," said FBI Special Agent in Charge John A. Strong.

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Accused ISIS plotter in North Carolina charged with earlier murder
FILE - In this Feb. 24, 2016, courtroom file sketch, Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, right, sits at the defense table with his attorney Zachary S. Taylor, during jury selection in a federal court in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Pugh, a U.S. Air Force veteran and former airplane mechanic charged with trying to join the Islamic State group, was convicted by the jury Wednesday, March 9, 2016. It was the first verdict to result from more than 70 cases the government has brought against U.S. citizens accused of trying to support the militant group. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams, File)
In this Oct. 5, 2012 photo, Jaelyn Young, an honor student at Warren Central High School, poses for a photo in Vicksburg, Miss. Young and another Mississippi resident were arrested on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, on charges that they were trying to travel abroad to join the Islamic State militant group. (Melanie Thortis/The Vicksburg Evening Post via the AP)
In this courtroom sketch, defendants Noelle Velentzas, center left and Asia Siddiqui, center right, appear in federal court with their attorneys, Thursday, April 2, 2015, in New York. The two women were arrested Thursday on charges they plotted to wage violent jihad by building a homemade bomb and using it for a Boston Marathon-type terror attack. (AP Photo/Jane Rosenberg)
In this undated image taken from video released by Turkish broadcaster A Haber on Friday, March 13, 2015, a girl, left, believed to be one of three British girls on their way to join the Islamic State Group in Syria, is seen in Turkey. A Turkish news channel released a video that it says was recorded by a man as he was helping three British schoolgirls get to Syria to join the Islamic State group. Turkish authorities have said the man was working for the intelligence service of a country that is part of the anti-IS coalition, but have not publicly named the country. A Haber television says that the video it obtained was filmed in Gaziantep on Turkey’s border with Syria. A Turkish government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment, confirmed the authenticity of the video. (AP Photo/A Haber via APTN)
ANKARA, TURKEY - MARCH 17: A passport photo alleged to belong to 22-years-old British woman Jalila Henry and to have been used by her twin sister Jamila Henry (known and named by Turkish officials as Jaila Nadra H) as she tried to travel through Turkey to Syria to join Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) terrorists. Jaila Nadra H was detained after an operation staged by the Turkey's Ankara Province Police Anti-terrorism department in the city's bus terminal in Ankara, Turkey on March 17, 2015. (Photo by Turkish National Police/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Renu Begum, eldest sister of Shamima Begum, 15, holds her sister's photo as she is interviewed by the media at New Scotland Yard, as the relatives of three missing schoolgirls believed to have fled to Syria to join Islamic State have pleaded for them to return home, on February 22, 2015 in London, England. Police are urgently trying to trace Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and 15-year-old Amira Abase after they flew to Istanbul in Turkey from Gatwick Airport on Tuesday. (Photo by Laura Lean - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
In this courtroom sketch, Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, right, a U.S. Air Force veteran and former airplane mechanic charged with attempting to join the Islamic State group in Syria, stands with his uncuffed hands behind back during his arraignment Wednesday, March 18, 2015, before Judge Nicholas Garaufis, left, in a federal courthouse in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Pugh pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges. His attorney, Michael K. Schneider, second from right, entered the plea on Pugh's behalf in the presence of Assistant US Attorneys Samuel Nitze, center, and Tiana Demas, center left. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams)
In this undated image taken from video released by Turkish broadcaster A Haber on Friday, March 13, 2015, a girl believed to be one of three British girls on their way to join the Islamic State Group in Syria, is seen in Turkey. A Turkish news channel released a video that it says was recorded by a man as he was helping three British schoolgirls get to Syria to join the Islamic State group. Turkish authorities have said the man was working for the intelligence service of a country that is part of the anti-IS coalition, but have not publicly named the country. A Haber television says that the video it obtained was filmed in Gaziantep on Turkey’s border with Syria. A Turkish government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment, confirmed the authenticity of the video. (AP Photo/A Haber via APTN)
In this courtroom drawing, defendant Akhror Saidakmetov, left; an interpreter, center; and defendant Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, appear at federal court in New York on terrorism charges, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015. Saidakmetov and Juraboev are two of the three men arrested on charges of plotting to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group and wage war against the U.S. (AP Photo/Jane Rosenberg)
FILE - This undated passport photo provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago shows Mohammed Hamzah Khan. A status hearing is scheduled Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in Chicago for Khan, who is facing federal charges of trying to travel with his siblings to Syria to join the Islamic State group. FBI agents raided his family home in Bolingbrook, Ill., for a second time days before the scheduled hearing. (AP Photo/U.S. Attorney’s Office, File)
FILE - This photo provided by the Paris Police Prefecture Friday, Jan. 9, 2015 shows Hayat Boumedienne the suspect in the kosher market attack. Turkey's foreign minister said Monday Jan.12, 2015 that Boumedienne, wife of Amedy Coulibaly, one of the perpetrators of the terrorist rampage in France last week, crossed into Syria from Turkey on Jan. 8. The Islamic State group has put out publications claiming to have an interview with the widow of the gunman who attacked a kosher supermarket and a police officer, killing five people before he died in a raid by security forces. The text interviews in French and English, published Wednesday and Thursday, did not directly name Hayat Boumeddiene nor show any images of her. It appeared to be the first confirmation from Islamic State that she had joined the group in Syria, as was widely believed after a posthumous video emerged of her husband, Amedy Coulibaly, pledging allegiance to its leader. (AP Photo/Prefecture de Police de Paris, File)
Attorney Thomas Durkin, left, talks with Shafi, and Zarine Khan, parents of Mohammed Hamzah Khan, after a federal magistrate judge put off ruling on whether the 19-year-old Khan, accused of trying to join Islamic State militants in Syria, should stay behind bars pending trial Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014, in Chicago. Khan's detention hearing on Thursday followed his arrest last week at O'Hare International Airport as he attempted to board a plane to Turkey. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
ANKARA, TURKEY - MARCH 17: A 22-years-old British woman, Jamila Henry (known and named by Turkish officials as Jaila Nadra H) who is alleged to have tried to travel through Turkey to Syria to join Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) terrorists, who has been detained after an operation staged by the Turkey's Ankara Province Police Anti-terrorism department in the city's bus terminal in Ankara, Turkey on March 17, 2015. (Photo by Turkish National Police/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Handout still taken from CCTV issued by the Metropolitan Police of (left to right) 15-year-old Amira Abase, Kadiza Sultana,16 and Shamima Begum,15 at Gatwick airport, before they caught their flight to Turkey. Metropolitan Police officers are in Turkey as the search continues for three missing schoolgirls believed to have fled to Syria to join Islamic State.
In the Feb. 2, 2014 photo provided by the Rock County, Wisconsin, Sheriff’s Office is Joshua Van Haften, 34, of Madison, Wisconsin. Van Haften was arrested Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago after returning on a flight from Turkey. He is charged in a criminal complaint with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. (Rock County Sheriff’s Office via AP)
Fighters from the Iraqi Imam Ali Brigade, take part in a training exercise in Iraq's central city of Najaf on March 7, 2015, ahead of joining the military operation in the city of Tikrit. Some 30,000 Iraqi security forces members and allied fighters launched an operation to retake Tikrit at the beginning of March, the largest of its kind since Islamic State (IS) group forces overran swathes of territory last June. AFP PHOTO / HAIDAR HAMDANI (Photo credit should read HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP/Getty Images)
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The first-degree state murder charge is punishable by life in prison without parole or the death penalty.

The federal charges range in punishment from 20 years in prison for attempting help Islamic State to eight years for lying to a federal agency.

Attorneys for Sullivan could not be reached Wednesday.

The FBI began tracking Sullivan in September 2014 after his parents, with whom he was living, told police he supported Islamic State and was destroying Buddhist objects at home.

In December, 2014, Clark was killed with the .22-caliber rifle later identified as one that Sullivan stole from his father and hid under their house, according to the indictment.

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Beginning on June 6, 2015, Sullivan began talking about his Islamic State loyalties with an undercover federal agent Sullivan took for a fellow supporter.

"I liked IS from the beginning then I started thinking about death and stuff so I became Muslim," Sullivan told the agent, according to the indictment.

Over the next two weeks, Sullivan told the agent that he wanted to kill hundreds or thousands with an assault rifle and silencer, and planned to practice killing with minor assassinations, the indictment said.

He instructed the agent to obtain weapons, had the agent make and mail him a silencer to use, planned to buy an AR-15 at a gun show and tried to buy hollow-point bullets.

When his parents questioned him about the silencer, he tried to hire the agent to kill them, the indictment said.

He was arrested in late June 2015 and remains in federal custody, authorities said. (Reporting by Letitia Stein and Karen Brooks; Editing by David Gregorio)

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