WACO (AP) – An AWOL soldier accused of planning to make bombs as part of a “massive attack” against Fort Hood soldiers could face more charges, a judge said Thursday.
A federal judge in Waco heard testimony from FBI agents in the case of Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo before sending the case to a grand jury. The judge said Abdo could be indicted on additional charges but didn’t elaborate.
U.S. attorneys already have charged Abdo with possession of an unregistered destructive device. Abdo, who is being held without bond, has yet to enter a plea. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison.
The 21-year-old was arrested last week at a Killeen motel near Fort Hood, where investigators said they found a handgun and ingredients for an explosive device, including gunpowder, two pressure cookers, clocks and wire.
Abdo also bought a U.S. Army uniform from a local store and a “Smith” name patch but told the clerk he did not know his unit at Fort Hood — where he was not actually based, FBI special agent Michael Brogan testified Thursday. Abdo changed into the uniform in the back of the store before leaving in a taxi, Brogan said.
After Abdo was arrested at the motel, with some items found in his backpack, he told authorities he was planning “a massive attack in the Killeen and Fort Hood area,” Brogan testified. Abdo said he planned to make two bombs and detonate them in a restaurant where Fort Hood soldiers eat, according to documents filed in the case.
During the hearing, defense attorney Keith Dorsett told the judge that no destructive device was found in Abdo’s motel room and that the charge should be dropped.
Abdo was approved as a conscientious objector this year after citing his Muslim beliefs. But that status was put on hold after he was charged with possessing child pornography. Last month, he went absent without leave from Fort Campbell, Ky.
After a hearing in the same Waco federal courtroom last week, Abdo shouted the name of the Army psychiatrist charged in the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood that killed 13 people.
On Thursday, Abdo said nothing after the hour-long probable cause hearing. He remained seated as everyone else stood when U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeff Manske entered the courtroom, but he stood when his defense attorney pulled at his striped jumpsuit before the judge announced his decision at the end.
Abdo was handcuffed and his feet were shackled as federal marshals led him in and out of the courtroom.
Officials have not offered details about a possible motive.
Meanwhile, Maj. Nidal Hasan is jailed in Bell County, near Fort Hood, awaiting his March military trial. If convicted of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage, Hasan could be sentenced to death.
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