It's an 'Unusual Resolution for a Highly Unusual Case'

Man accused of plotting DC-area terror attacks sentenced to time served
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 23, 2023 6:05 PM CDT
Judge Orders Release of Man Accused of Plotting Truck Attacks
The terminal at Dulles International Airport stands behind a Metrorail station sign in Chantilly, Virginia.   (AP Photo/Matthew Barakat, File)

A federal judge on Monday ordered the release of a Maryland man who has been imprisoned for more than four years on charges that he plotted ISIS-inspired attacks at an airport and at a shopping and entertainment complex in the Washington, DC, area. Rondell Henry, 32, of Germantown, Maryland, pleaded guilty in August to attempting to perform an act of violence at Dulles International Airport in Virginia. US District Judge Paula Xinis agreed to sentence Henry to the jail time that he already has served since his March 2019 arrest, reports the AP.

Accepting terms recommended by both prosecutors and defense attorneys, the judge also sentenced Henry to lifetime supervised release with mandatory participation in a mental health treatment program. "It's an unusual resolution for a highly unusual case," Xinis said. Henry abandoned his plan to plow a stolen U-Haul van into pedestrians at the airport because he didn't think the early-morning crowd was large enough, prosecutors said. Police arrested Henry after he parked the truck at National Harbor, a popular waterfront destination in Maryland just outside the nation's capital. Henry didn't harm anybody at either location, but a prosecutor has said that he intended to kill as many "disbelievers" as possible.

Henry ultimately agreed to plead guilty to a felony that carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. But prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed that an appropriate sentence for Henry would be time served and lifetime supervised release with mandatory mental health treatment and compliance with prescribed medication. "This had the potential to cause mass death, mass casualties, as well as widespread fear," said a prosecutor, Jessica Collins. Henry told the judge that he feels "much better" and is committed to getting the mental health treatment that he needs. He said he is looking forward to being reunited with his family, including his mother, stepfather and sister.

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Several months before his arrest, Henry, who worked as an IT service desk technician, began experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia and having delusional and paranoid thoughts, according to his attorneys. They say he now takes daily medication to treat his mental health condition and hasn't been experiencing any delusional thoughts or hallucinations. (More terrorism stories.)

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