A 19-year-old Colorado woman who attempted to fly to Syria to assist the Islamic State group was sentenced Friday to four years in prison, NBC News reported. The sentence was handed down after Denver resident Shannon Conley pleaded guilty in September to a terrorism-related charge.
Conley, who now wants to be referred to as Amatullah, a Muslim name that means “servant of Allah,” was drawn to the ISIS cause after she met a man online who said he was fighting with the militant group, CNN reported. The 19-year-old tried to get on a flight from Denver International Airport to Turkey and eventually Syria but she was arrested by authorities at the airport. A certified nurse’s aide, the teenager wanted to be a nurse at an ISIS camp, according to the network.
While Conley received a four-year sentence, she may be in prison for as many as five years, depending on how well she cooperates with the government about other Americans she may know who joined or are planning to join ISIS, according NBC News. The judge who gave the sentence described Conley as an attention seeker and described her mental state as being “a bit of a mess,” Denver NBC affiliate KUSA reported.
Conley pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization, according to Denver ABC affiliate KMGH. She apologized for her actions before her sentencing, and said she wasn’t planning on going to Syria to inflict violence.
“Even though I supported a jihad, it was never to hurt anyone. It was always in the defense of Muslims,” she said. "I do not believe I am a threat to society and would appreciate an opportunity to prove it.”
Conley’s mother, AnaMaria Conley, said her daughter was misguided.
“She was clueless. She's just a teenager, young, with a big mouth,” she told CNN in an interview last year. “I think another time, another place, she would just be another kid with a big mouth.”