Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to Separate Plot After ISIS-Inspired Attack

In a recent development, Rondell Henry, a Maryland man charged in 2019 with planning an Islamic State-inspired attack, has pleaded guilty to engaging in a separate plot to drive a stolen van into a crowd of people at a nearby airport. Although the plea agreement could potentially lead to his release from federal custody as early as October, Henry remains in custody until his sentencing hearing.

According to court records, Henry admitted that he stole a U-Haul van from a parking garage in Alexandria, Virginia, and drove it to Dulles International Airport in Virginia on March 27, 2019. He attempted to enter a restricted area at the airport but was prevented by another individual. Subsequently, Henry revealed to investigators that he went to the airport with the intention of causing harm to people and driving through a crowd, but left because there “wasn’t a big enough crowd” at the time.

Henry pleaded guilty to a felony that carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. However, both prosecutors and defense attorneys have agreed that the appropriate sentence for Henry would be the jail time he has already served, along with a lifetime of supervised release and mandatory participation in a mental health treatment program.

It is worth noting that the charge to which Henry pleaded guilty is unrelated to what authorities had initially said was an ISIS-inspired plot to carry out an attack at National Harbor, a popular waterfront destination in Maryland. The recent court filings do not mention the Islamic State or provide any ideological motivation for the airport plot.

The case against Henry has faced delays for years due to questions about his mental competency. Last year, his attorneys notified the court of his intent to pursue an insanity defense. However, in May 2022, the judge ruled that Henry had become mentally competent to stand trial and assist in his own defense.

In addition to his planned attack, investigators have found that Henry watched Islamic State propaganda videos and possessed images related to the group. Henry is a naturalized U.S. citizen who immigrated from Trinidad and Tobago more than a decade ago.

Source: Not mentioned