A federal judge convicted a man of plotting to bomb a Jewish center, hospitalizing him for psychiatric treatment and sentencing him to 25 years of imprisonment Tuesday.
James Medina pleaded guilty before a Miami federal judge to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction for a religious hate crime, according to the Associated Press. Medina plotted to bomb the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, which includes a synagogue and a Jewish school, during Passover 2016, but was arrested before he could carry out the attack. An FBI investigation of Medina leading up to his arrest showed that he was a supporter of ISIS and that he believed he was obligated to attack Jewish people. Doctors discovered, however, that Medina had a “spider like” brain cyst that may have influenced his behavior, according to Sun Sentinel.
The FBI caught Medina in a sting operation in which an undercover informant and an undercover FBI agent recorded Medina plotting with the informant to bomb the center. The informant recorded Medina saying that he did not care if women and children would die in the bombing, and that he wanted to inflict as many casualties as possible.
“All these people gonna die,” Medina said in the recording, according to the Sun Sentinel.
Medina also recorded several videos of himself on a cell phone before attempting to carry out the bombing.
“I am a Muslim and I don’t like what is going on in this world. I’m going to handle business here in America,” Medina said in one of the videos. “Aventura, watch your back. ISIS is in the house.”
Medina confessed to FBI agents after his arrest in March 2016, and said “the Jews are the cause of the present state of the world and all the wars that are taking place.”
Medina was raised as a Pentecostal Christian, but converted to Islam after his wife divorced him. His family members say he has had a history of mental illness. Medical experts diagnosed Medina with schizophrenia, Bipolar disorder, and the brain cyst, but ultimately both sides in the case agreed that he was mentally competent to stand trial.
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