Colorado Woman Sentenced to Federal Prison for Trying to Join ISIS


19-year-old Colorado woman, Shannon Maureen Conley became one of the first Americans sentenced for conspiracy to support ISIS. The four-year sentence was the result of a plea agreement Conley made last year in exchange for a reduced charge and lighter sentence.

In addition to prison time, CNN reports that Conley will serve three years of supervised release and 100 hours of community service, in which she has to interact with “ordinary people.” She will also be prohibited from possessing “black powder” or “explosive materials.”

Conley was arrested last year at the Denver International Airport, after her parents reported her to the FBI. She confessed to investigators that she was leaving for Turkey where she planned to meet and marry an ISIS member in Syria whom she had met on the internet. The nurse-practitioner also confessed that she was planning on becoming a nurse in the terrorist organization.

Conley’s defense lawyer had cited her erratic behavior as proof of mental instability, she had been engaged to four men in few months leading to her arrest. And though the Judge Raymond P. Moore agreed that Conley was “a bit of a mess,” and conceded that “she is not a terrorist,” his sentencing decision was made largely to dissuade others. “What is it that will cause others to stop in the future,” he said during sentencing.

CNN reports:

Before sentencing, Conley wept as she read a statement saying, “It was after arrest that I learned the truth about the ISIS that I was taught to respect.”
She talked about her ongoing journey into Islam.
“Since my incarceration I have had a chance to read the entire Quran,” she said. She concluded that “the scholars” she had been following in her online research about Islam had distorted the Quran, she said.

Conley’s parents believe that her sentence was too extreme: “…the government is willing to sacrifice the future of a 19-year-old American citizen to drive the point home … then we feel the terrorists have won this particular battle in the war on terrorism,” they told the news network.

Image via AP.

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