Alexander Ciccolo, the son of a Boston police officer, pleaded guilty Monday to supporting ISIS and planning a pressure-cooker bomb attack.
Ciccolo, who also went by Ali Al Amriki, the name he adopted after converting to Islam, will spend 20 years in prison for providing material support to ISIS, plotting a bomb attack, obtaining weapons, and later stabbing a nurse repeatedly with a pen, according to the Department of Justice.
The trial for Ciccolo was scheduled to start in June, CBS Boston noted.
“Homegrown violent extremists pose a serious danger to innocent Americans,” Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers said in a statement. “Not only did Ciccolo admit to supporting ISIS, but he also collected weapons and explosives in order to further its goal: the murder of Americans.” (RELATED: American ISIS Fighter Can Meet With Lawyer, Judge Says)
Ciccolo, now 25, is the son of former police captain Robert Ciccolo, who was one of the first responders to the Boston marathon bombing in 2013. The elder Ciccolo went to the FBI with concerns his son was becoming “obsessed” with ISIS. In a resulting sting operation, Alexander Ciccolo bought weapons and described to an FBI informant his plot to plant pressure cooker bombs in public places like college cafeterias.
Informants witnessed Ciccilo purchasing a pressure cooker similar to the kind used in the Boston marathon bombings, and he had described to a cooperating witness his plans to fill the container with black powder, nails, ball bearings and glass, according to authorities.
The FBI arrested Ciccolo July 4, 2015. Ciccolo obtained four firearms he had ordered from a person who was cooperating with law enforcement and who had been communicating with Ciccolo about his plans to engage in a terrorist act. Ciccolo had already spent a year in prison for another crime, making it illegal for him to own guns.
When authorities raided Ciccolo’s apartment, they found molotov cocktails filled with motor oil-soaked Styrofoam, which Ciccolo said would cause the incendiary material to stick to a victim’s skin, making it harder to brush off as it burned.
After his arrest, Ciccolo assaulted a nurse at the county jail, stabbing her 10 times with a pen. Ciccolo’s mother, Shelley MacInnes, said in 2017 her son was likely distressed at the time due to his Ramadan fasts. MacInnes doesn’t believe her son would engage in terrorist acts.
“He’s very compassionate. He has a deep respect for all living things,” MacInnes said in an interview with New England Public Radio. “I’m sure some people are out there saying, ‘Yeah, right.’ But he literally would not hurt a fly.”
Ciccolo agreed to his 20 year sentence and will face a lifetime of supervised release thereafter.
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