9:37 PM EDT, August 10, 2012
WACO, Tex. -- A U.S. soldier charged with plotting to blow up troops from the nation's largest Army post has been sentenced to life in prison.
Naser Jason Abdo was found guilty in May of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, attempted murder of federal employees, and weapons charges, the U.S. attorney's office in Waco, Texas, said.
Prosecutors said the 22-year-old private first class wanted to bomb a restaurant frequented by soldiers from Fort Hood, in Killeen, Texas.
Abdo, who was sentenced to two life terms plus additional time, sat in court with a white cloth bound over his mouth and a black mesh covering his hair and face.
He has previously been accused of spitting what he thought was HIV-infected blood on agents escorting him.
Abdo was absent without leave from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, when he was arrested in Texas in July 2011.
Prosecutors said he was in the process of building a bomb when he was caught.
The Muslim-American paratrooper had been granted conscientious objector status after refusing to deploy to Afghanistan.
In May 2011, he was charged with possession of child pornography, and went AWOL the following month.
In a November interview with CNN affiliate WSMV in Nashville, Tennessee, Abdo said he originally planned to attack his own post, hoping to kill "a high-ranking member of my chain of command" who had served in Afghanistan.
But he said he went AWOL after military police learned he had visited gun stores and bought a variety of tools he planned to use in that attack, including a cattle prod, handcuffs and shovels.
Instead, he turned his attention to Fort Hood, where another Muslim-American soldier, Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, is accused of gunning down 13 comrades and wounding more than 30 others.
"I felt like the only way to freedom or justice was martyrdom," Abdo told WSMV.
Referring to Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused in the fatal shooting of 13 people at the Fort Hood military post, Abdo said that he lived in Hasan's shadow despite "efforts to outdo him."
Abdo said he would continue his jihad -- an Arabic term for holy war -- "until the day the dead are called to account for their deeds."
He spoke in Arabic several times during his allocution, and then translated it for the court.
"I do not ask the court to give me mercy, for Allah is the one that gives me mercy," he said while reading from notes.