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Ohio woman pleads guilty to planning terrorist attack on Toledo bar

By
Darryl Coote

Aug. 30 (UPI) -- An Ohio woman who idolized the Columbine High School shooters and corresponded with Dylann Roof pleaded guilty to plotting an attack on a downtown Toledo bar, prosecutors said.

Elizabeth Lecron, 24, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of conspiracy to provide material support or resources to terrorists and one count of transporting explosives in interstate commerce, according to a press release by the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Ohio.

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In pleading guilty, she is agreeing to spend 15 years in federal prison and be subjected to indefinite supervision by federal authorities upon her release.

Her co-conspirator, Vincent Armstrong, pleaded guilty earlier this month to one count of conspiracy to transport or receive an explosive with intent to kill, injure or intimidate any individual and maliciously damage or destroy by fire or explosive.

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The pair were arrested in December after delivering two pounds of muzzleloading propellant and 665 screws for a pipe bomb to an undercover law enforcement source.

Justin Herdman, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, said it was the first time he has used the terrorism charge domestically, stating he was able to apply it against Lecron due to explosives being involved in the case.

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"She purchased a shotgun, black powder, screws and other items for the purpose of launching mass-casualty attacks," he said. "For years we have used this statute to prosecute those who supported our enemies abroad, and are gratified we are able to use it to hold accountable people who planned to attack our neighbors, regardless of ideology."

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According to court documents, Lecron conspired with Armstrong from April to December 2018 to conduct an attack she described in her journal as "D-Day."

"D-Day will be my salvation," she wrote, according to prosecutors.

Shortly after meeting in February 2018, Lecron told Armstrong of her interest in mass murderers and in August of that year, the two flew to Denver to visit sites related to the Columbine High School shooting of 1999, which was committed by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold resulting in 15 people dead, including the shooters. The pair also planned to visit "the church" in Charleston, S.C., meaning the church where Roof killed nine people in 2015.

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The pair discussed numerous targets for their attack before deciding on a downtown Toledo bar, and coordinated the outfits they were to wear during their attack to emulate the Columbine shooters, the prosecutors said.

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According to the complaint, Lecron also corresponded with Roof in prison. She sent him letters and when he asked her for books on social uprising and Nazism, she complied.

"I have been thinking about you a lot and decided to send you books every two weeks," she wrote to him.

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Authorities began looking into the pair in the summer of 2018 after receiving a tip that Armstrong was planning to commit a violent attack. Further investigation led them to Lecron's social media posts.

On Sept. 11, Lecron discussed with a confidential source and two undercover agents about conducting a bomb attack, stating she was willing to help them in any way she could.

Asked about how she felt concerning the potential death toll from the attack, she said, "Take them out. I don't really feel any type of way for that ... I'm here to send a message and get the job done. ... If they are in the way of the explosion, they're probably part of the problem, so maybe it's for the best."

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She was then contacted Dec. 4 and asked to purchase materials for a pipe bomb, which she handed over four days later.

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"Thank you so much," she told the confidential source. "... This is exactly what I wanted to do," according to court documents.

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