WACO, Texas — Naser Jason Abdo sat alone in court with his hands shackled and a white cloth secured over his mouth and neck. The soldier who went AWOL and plotted to kill other troops outside a Texas Army post remained defiant Friday as he was sentenced to life in prison, not asking for mercy and vowing to never end what he considers his holy war.
"I will continue until the day the dead are called to account for their deeds," Abdo said in a low, gravelly voice through the cloth mask.
A federal judge sentenced Abdo, 22, to two life terms plus additional time. The federal prison system offers no chance of parole. He was convicted of planning what he claimed would have been a massive attack on a Texas restaurant filled with troops from Fort Hood.
Abdo referred to Maj. Nidal Hasan — the Army psychiatrist soon to be tried in a deadly shooting rampage at that Army post — as "my brother." He said he lived in Hasan's shadow despite "efforts to outdo him."
Abdo became a Muslim at age 17.
Outside court, prosecutor Mark Frazier said Abdo had come close to carrying out the attack. U.S. Attorney Robert Pitman compared the plot to recent mass shootings at a movie theatre near Denver and a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee.
"In the wake of the tragic events in Colorado and Wisconsin, this is yet another reminder that there are those among us who would use or plan to use violence to advance their twisted agenda," Pitman said.
Arguing for a life sentence, Frazier had said Abdo still presented a threat. The young Muslim's mouth was covered in court, Frazier said, because he had earlier spat his own blood at agents believing he was infected with HIV. That belief turned out to be wrong.