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'Jihad Jane' sentenced to 10 years in prison

(Left) This June 26, 1997 file booking photo provided by the Tom Green County Jail in San Angelo, Texas, shows Colleen R. LaRose. (Right) In this photo of a sketch by courtroom artist Janet Hamlin, Colleen LaRose pleaded not guilty before U.S. Magistrate Lynne A. Sitarski at the U.S. Courthouse in Philadelphia, Thursday, March 18, 2010.

January 6, 2014 9:21:44 AM PST
A 50-year-old Pennsylvania woman who called herself "Jihad Jane" was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Monday.

Colleen LaRose of Pennsburg was accused in a 2009 conspiracy to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who did a series of controversial drawings depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad as a dog. Muslim extremists had offered a $100,000 reward for anyone who killed Vilks.

LaRose told Judge Petrese Tucker at the sentencing hearing that she was once obsessed with jihad and thought about it from morning to night. She said she was in a trance.

"I don't want to be into jihad no more," she said.

Tucker sentenced LaRose to 10 years in prison, plus five years of supervised released. She faced a potential life sentence, but because of her extensive cooperation with investigators, prosecutors requested a reduced sentence.

With the more than four years she has already served and good behavior, LaRose could be out in a little over four years.

Prosecutors depicted LaRose as a "lonely and isolated" woman who sought excitement by joining the jihadist cause. According to the Justice Department, Ali Charaf Damache, who was living in Ireland, recruited LaRose and another U.S. woman via jihadist websites.

Judge Tucker said she had no doubt LaRose, who stalked Vilks online, would have killed him had she had the chance.

"The fact that out of boredom, or out of being housebound, she took to the computer and communicated with the people she communicated with, and hatched this mission, is just unbelievable," Tucker said.

Public defender Mark Wilson said LaRose has come to understand the true, peaceful tenets of Islam and said "there's virtually no chance that she would ever be involved in violent jihad ever again."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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