CAMDEN, N.J. — A man who was the "epicenter of the conspiracy" to kill military personnel was sentenced to life in prison and a convicted fellow plotter was sentenced to 33 years as a judge on Wednesday finished sentencing five Muslim immigrants who contemplated an attack on Ft. Dix.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler had sentenced the three others involved in the plot to at least life in prison. Under federal law, none of the four given life sentences will be eligible for parole. All are likely to appeal.
On Wednesday, Mohamad Shnewer, a 24-year-old U.S. citizen born in Jordan, received a sentence of life plus 30 years. Kugler said the sentence reflected his position as "the epicenter of the conspiracy" by frequently suggesting ways to kill military personnel.
Convicted co-conspirator Serdar Tatar, 25, spoke in court for 40 minutes. The former restaurant worker and 7-Eleven clerk, who lived in Philadelphia, tried to explain why he reported to law enforcement agencies that someone had asked him for a map of Ft. Dix.
At the time, his father owned a pizza shop near the central New Jersey Army installation. Prosecutors say the men were targeting the fort because of Tatar's knowledge of the base and portrayed Tatar's actions as a savvy effort to smoke out an FBI informant.
Tatar said he was trying to report possible criminal activity. His mistake, he said, was lying and telling investigators that he had not handed over the map when in fact he had.
"I thought I was doing the right thing," he said. "And I ended up screwing it up for everyone."