At a Glance | May 7

ISIS Sympathizer Sentenced to Life in Prison Without Parole in Killing of NJ College Student

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A Seattle man who had pledged to “follow the way of the Islamic State” received a sentence of life in prison without parole on May 1 for killing a college student from Livingston (Essex County). Ali Muhammad Brown (right) is the first person in New Jersey convicted of terrorism in connection with a homicide under State law after pleading guilty on March 6. He fatally shot 19-year-old Brendan Tevlin in West Orange (Essex County) when Tevlin stopped at a traffic light on June 25, 2014. Police arrested Brown, 33, more than three weeks later at a makeshift campsite in a wooded area of West Orange. Brown told investigators following his arrest that the killing was revenge for deaths in the Middle East as a result of US foreign policy. Brown received three concurrent life sentences, for terrorism, murder and felony murder, and an additional 60 years for carjacking, robbery, and weapons charges. Brown is already serving a 36-year sentence at New Jersey State Prison in Trenton for a separate armed robbery conviction. He also admitted killing three men in Seattle earlier in 2014, but he has not made a plea yet in those cases.


Teen Arrested for Plotting ISIS-Inspired Shooting at Dallas-Area Shopping Mall

A Texas teen suspected of drawing inspiration from ISIS to plan a mass shooting at a mall in the Dallas area faces up to life in prison following his arrest on May 1. Matin Azizi-Yarand, 17, is charged with making a terrorist threat and criminal solicitation of capital murder. A four-month investigation into Azizi-Yarand by the FBI and local police departments revealed the high school student planned to carry out the attack in mid-May at the Stonebriar Centre Mall in Frisco, Texas. He also considered a religious facility and a school as other possible targets where he believed the police response would be slow. He sent an FBI informant $1,400 to purchase weapons and body armor and also wanted to leave a message explaining his motives. Law enforcement officials said Azizi-Yarand was not concerned with a high death count, but instead wanted countries to spend more money on security. Azizi-Yarand told an FBI source he would kill a responding officer by setting him on fire. The case is being handled at the state level, as Azizi-Yarand is considered an adult in Texas as opposed to a juvenile under federal law. He is being held on $3 million bail.


Two Men Found Guilty of Beating an African-American Man in Charlottesville Parking Garage

Two men who took part in the beating of an African-American man during the “Unite the Right” rally last year in Charlottesville, Virginia, were found guilty for their roles in the attack. Alex Michael Ramos, 34, of Georgia and Jacob Scott Goodwin, 23, of Arkansas were each convicted of malicious wounding on May 3 and May 1, respectively. Ramos and Goodwin, a white nationalist, joined others in attacking 20-year-old DeAndre Harris in a parking garage on August 12. Harris suffered a spinal injury, broken arm, and head laceration as a result of the beating. Ramos claimed he is not a white supremacist, and Goodwin argued he acted in self-defense after seeing Harris swing an object at a prominent white nationalist. Harris was acquitted of assault charges on March 16. Sentencing for both men is in August. Jury recommendations are for Ramos to receive six years in prison and Goodwin to get a 10-year term with a $20,000 fine. Two other men await trials this summer in the attack.


For more information, please contact NJOHSP's Analysis Bureau at analysis@njohsp.gov or 609-584-4000.