'Jihad Jane' Gets 10 Years

Colleen LaRose will serve 6 more years
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2014 12:27 PM CST
'Jihad Jane' Gets 10 Years
This June 26, 1997 file booking photo provided by the Tom Green County Jail in San Angelo, Texas, shows Colleen R. LaRose.   (AP Photo/Tom Green County Jail, File)

Colleen LaRose, the American woman known as "Jihad Jane," was sentenced to 10 years in prison today for a failed plot that involved al-Qaeda, with credit given for four years already served. The 50-year-old faced a life sentence, but she's helped authorities with other terrorism cases since her arrest, Reuters reports. In 2009, LaRose went to Europe to kill Lars Vilks, a Swedish artist who drew Mohammad's head on the body of a dog. She says she was following instructions from al-Qaeda operatives. But the plans were repeatedly bungled, and she gave up and returned to the US after six weeks, only to be arrested.

"I was in a trance and I couldn't see anything else" at the time, LaRose said at today's hearing. Her defense lawyer pointed out that she had never done so much as fire a gun. But prosecutors wanted a longer sentence, arguing that LaRose does not look like a stereotypical jihadist and is still a danger to society. "She really did change the face of what the world thought of as a violent jihadist," said one today. "It was scary for people to hear that Ms. LaRose could have been radicalized simply online in the US." Another US woman arrested in the case will be sentenced Wednesday. (More Colleen LaRose stories.)

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