The son of a Boston police captain, whom authorities called the "committed soldier" of the Islamic State group, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Wednesday for conspiring to use assault rifles and homemade bombs to kill Americans on a campus academic.
Alexander Ciccolo, who called himself Ali Al Amriki, pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in May, three years after his father alerted the FBI to his son's desire to fight for the terrorist group.
Ciccolo's lawyers say that the man, who dealt with mental health problems and substance abuse, had ill-conceived plans and a real capacity to carry out the attack. Meanwhile, the authorities described him as a loyal supporter of the Islamic State group dedicated to inflicting "maximum damage" to the United States.
Alexander Ciccolo (pictured after an arrest for drunken driving in 2014) was sentenced to 20 years in prison after planning a terrorist attack on a US university campus. UU
Alexander Ciccolo, 25 (pictured left), was arrested in July 2015 after planning an atrocity, inspired by the Boston Marathon attack in 2013. His father (right), a captain of the police in Boston, he handed it
Prosecutors say Ciccolo planned to use assault rifles and homemade explosives to kill American students at New Mexico State University
"Do not get confused, Alexander Ciccolo was a committed ISIS soldier who wanted to kill innocent people in a US university with assault rifles and pressure cooker bombs, not an unconscious fool who did not understand the seriousness of what was doing". Hank Shaw, special agent in charge of the Boston FBI office, said in a statement.
Ciccolo was arrested in July 2015 after receiving four pistols he ordered from a person who was cooperating with the FBI.
He pleaded guilty to trying to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and attempting to use weapons of mass destruction, among other charges, a month before he was brought to trial.
Prosecutors said he also planned to use homemade bombs similar to the pressure cookers used in the deadly attack of the 2013 Boston Marathon. Ciccolo was seen buying a pressure cooker shortly before his arrest.
Past non-violent: Alexander Ciccoloon a peace walk through Brighton, Massachusetts to spread awareness about the dangers of nuclear power and weapons in July 2012
Ciccolo's lawyers, 26, identified the aforementioned school as a target in judicial documents such as the State University of New Mexico.
After Ciccolo was arrested, he stabbed the prison nurse in the head more than 10 times, authorities said.
Before his arrest, he posted a photo of his Facebook page of the Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with the words JUSTICE FOR JAHAR SAVE HOPE, "prosecutors say.
They said he continues to adopt violent rhetoric, saying in a jail call in April: "We are at the point where Muslims are justified in using violence, yes, I agree with that."
Ciccolo's father has not spoken publicly about the arrest of his son. He told his son's lawyers that to this day he does not believe his son has met or could have fulfilled his plans, his lawyers said in court documents.
But his father, who was unaware of a specific plot, said he was worried that his son might have done something "smaller and more impulsive," the lawyers say.
Ciccolo's mother, Shelley MacInnes, told New England Public Radio last year that her son is "very compassionate" and that "he would not hurt a fly."
After his arrest Ciccolo is accused of stabbing a nurse in the head with a pen. The assault left a hole in the nurse's skin and caused the pen to split in half, according to Ambrogio's affidavit.