Suffolk man sentenced to 20 years for attempting to help ISIS

Lionel Williams, Image courtesy of WAVY

NORFOLK, Va. (WRIC) — A Suffolk man was sentenced to 20 years in prison Wednesday for attempting to provide material support to ISIS.

Lionel Williams had previously pleaded guilty to terrorism charges. In addition to his 20-year sentence, Williams will be supervised for the rest of his life upon release.

Prosecutors say 26-year-old tried to help ISIS by providing material support and resources to the terrorist organization last year.

Williams pleaded guilty to the terrorism charges in August. Investigators say Williams’ interest in ISIS began in 2014.  Federal authorities say he pledged his support to ISIS on social media — describing his hope that the terror group would take over the U.S.

According to court documents filed in December 2016, Williams tried to send $250 to a ISIS financier a part of the terror group, but instead that person ended up being an undercover agent.  The FBI says Williams believed that money was going to used to help ISIS buy weapons and ammunition for their fighters.

Agents also say Williams bought an AK-47 assault rifle the day after the San Bernardino terrorist attack in 2015. The FBI says he made statements about wanting to become a martyr and attack hard targets.

Police arrested Williams in December 2016, and he was later denied bond due to a threat to public safety.

Williams is set to be sentenced at 11 a.m.

As part of a plea agreement he took earlier this year, Williams will get a minimum of 20 years in prison.

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