A former Mississippi college student was sentenced to 12 years in jail by a federal judge on Thursday for trying to join ISIS.
Jaelyn Young, a former chemistry major at Mississippi State University and an honored student and cheerleader, was caught attempting to go to Syria so that she can join the Islamic State with her fiancé, Muhammad Dakhlalla, last year.
Prosecutors said that Jaelyn converted to Islam while studying at MSU and since then started to show her views that the United States didn’t treat Muslims well, she came up with the idea and began begging her boyfriend to join ISIS with her.
The couple contacted undercover agents online to arrange a trip to Syria to join the group. They were arrested at the airport in Mississippi with tickets to Istanbul, Turkey.
“I found the contacts, made arrangements, planned the departure,” Jaelyn’ latter read, which she left behind for her family, according to the AP. “I am guilty of what you soon will find out.”
During the hearing on Thursday, the 20-year-old started to crying and said she was ashamed of what she’d done. Jaelyn pleaded guilty in March to providing material support to a terrorist organization and was facing to 20 years in prison.
Muhammad also pleaded guilty and will be sentenced on Aug. 24. Prosecutors stated that she forces her fiancé to go along with the plan.
“Young continually asked Dakhlalla when they were going to join (the Islamic State group) and began to express hatred for the U.S. government and to express support for the implementation of Sharia law in the United States,” prosecutors wrote.
Jaelyn’s parents, a police officer who served in the Navy reserve and a school administrator, pleaded for a lenient sentence on Thursday.
“I wasn’t there for Jaelyn’s graduation. I wasn’t there for her senior day. I wasn’t there the day she went to Mississippi State. What she did was wrong, but part of it was my fault, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to keep my country safe. But my daughter was lost,” her father, Leonce Young, stated, according to the IB Times.
Jaelyn also pointed out her father’s military service when she was apologizing to the people and the state, saying that, “the guilt of my father being in the military and then me being in this position, it’s like a slap in the face. There’s just so much humiliation. And I didn’t think of that.”
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