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
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)
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.
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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