Chelsea bomber Ahmad Rahimi sentenced to life in prison

By Daniel Uria  |  Feb. 13, 2018 at 5:19 PM
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Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Ahmad Rahimi was sentenced to multiple life terms in prison Tuesday after planting bombs in New York and New Jersey.

Judge Richard M. Berman sentenced Rahimi, 30, to two life terms and 30 years in prison after carrying out a September 2016 bombing inspired by the Islamic State and al-Qaida in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood that injured 30 people.

"Mr. Rahimi just stood here for the last 10 minutes and blamed everyone else for his actions," Assistant U.S. Attorney Shawn Crowley said. "He is unrepentant. He shows no sympathy for his victims."

Rahimi, an Afghan-born man living in New Jersey, was convicted of eight charges in October including using a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a public place, one of which carried a maximum life sentence.

Berman issued the maximum sentence on other counts and told Rahimi it was miraculous the bomb he placed in Chelsea didn't result in any deaths.

"It's inexplicable that anyone would do that intentionally," Berman said. "But it's clear from the evidence and the record that you did."

Rahimi used household goods to create a bomb packed into a pressure cooker and wired to a flip-phone detonator, which he placed on the busy New York street on Sept. 17, 2016.

He placed another bomb several blocks away. A passerby spotted it and alerted police who sent a bomb squad to remove the bomb without incident. Rahimi also placed a bomb in a garbage can at the finish line of a United States Marine Corps charity race in Seaside Park, N.J., but the start time was delayed and no one was injured when the bomb exploded.

The next day when returning to New Jersey Rahimi left a backpack containing six pipe bombs in a New Jersey train station and one exploded after being detonated by a police robot, but caused no injuries.

Rahimi wasn't charged with terrorism, but his father, Mohammad Rahimi, said he contacted the FBI to warn that his son may have been radicalized and the agency informed him his son wasn't engaged in terrorist behavior.

While speaking in court Rahimi placed blame on the FBI for not acting on his father's warning.

"My father did his best to try to quell everything down," he said. "He feels like the system failed him."

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