A mother of two from the eastern U.S. city of Philadelphia has been sentenced to eight years in prison for plotting to travel to Syria to join Islamic State militants.
Authorities said Keonna Thomas planned to abandon her children to join an Islamic State fighter she had married over Skype.
"I'm not an evil or malicious person,'' Thomas, 33, told the court Wednesday. "I'm just someone who, I guess, at one point, was impressionable."
But prosecutors say Thomas, who went by the online moniker "YoungLioness,'' was an ardent supporter of the terrorist group. She spent years spreading the group's message online and raising money for the group.
She was arrested by FBI agents at her Philadelphia home in April 2015 and charged with planning to join a jihadi organization. Thomas’ lawyers argue their client wanted to be accepted and was eventually seduced, and posed no legitimate threat.
But the prosecutors had called for a lengthy sentence as a warning. A lengthy prison sentence to “others who might find themselves dissatisfied with life and excited by online extremists promising acceptance, a meaningful life, and piety must be shown that providing material support to terrorists translates to a very lengthy prison sentence regardless of the circumstances.”