US prosecutors want a long prison sentence for a woman who called herself “Jihad Jane” online, saying her punishment should serve as a deterrent to “other lonely, vulnerable people who might be enticed by online extremists promising fame and honor.”
Colleen LaRose remains a threat and deserves a “very lengthy” sentence of decades in prison for plotting to kill a Swedish cartoonist who made a caricature of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed, prosecutors said in a memo filed this week.
The 50-year-old Pennsburg woman and two others convicted in the plot — Jamie Paulin-Ramirez of Colorado and Maryland teen Mohammad Hassan Khalid — are scheduled to be sentenced next week in Philadelphia.
LaRose faces the possibility of life in prison after pleading guilty in 2011 to four federal charges, including conspiracy to murder a foreign target, conspiracy to support terrorists and lying to the FBI.
Prosecutors called LaRose a “lonely and isolated” woman with few friends and an absent boyfriend when she turned to the Internet for distraction. By the middle of 2008, they wrote, she was associating with foreign terrorists, who valued her ability to recruit jihadists online.
LaRose cooperated extensively with authorities following her arrest, prosecutors said, but they said she has shown a “complete lack of remorse” in her prison correspondence and “continues to present a danger to the American people.”
She has continued signing her name as “Jihad Jane” and told one admirer she has “no regrets” about the plot, the memo noted.
She “seemed to take pleasure and even pride recounting her glory days as ‘the hunter,’” prosecutors wrote.
Another defendant, Mohammad Khalid, met LaRose in a chat room when he was 15 and began corresponding with her, prosecutors say. They allege the onetime high-school honors student agreed to raise money and recruit terrorists for jihad, and helped LaRose by receiving a package from her, removing a passport from it and forwarding other items to co-conspirators.
He pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. Prosecutors have asked for a reduced sentence of less than 10 years based on his cooperation, but expressed concern he might be “re-radicalized.”
The government requested a sentence of 10 years for Paulin-Ramirez, who dubbed herself “Jihad Jamie.”