An Ohio man pleaded guilty to circulating a “kill list” of U.S. military members—calling for jihadi violence on American soil.
Terrence J. McNeil, a 24-year-old from Akron, will face between 15 and 20 years in federal prison for reposting the solicitations of violence on Tumblr, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
McNeil circulated a .gif file which had a series of images that cycled to viewers. The first contained text calling for “world-wide jihad.”
“Kill them in their own lands, behead them in their own homes, stab them to death as they walk their streets thinking that they are safe,” the text read.
The file then looped dozens of photographs, which included U.S. personnel names, pictures, addresses and their branch of military.
McNeil allegedly reblogged the files with the banner “Islamic State Hacking Division” with additional messages of “Target: United States Military” and “Leak: Addresses of 100 U.S. Military Personnel.”
McNeil also allegedly circulated similar “kill lists” in late 2015.
Originally charged with six counts, McNeil was indicted on nine additional crimes by a federal jury in October 2016. His guilty plea was for five counts of solicitation to commit a crime of violence, and five counts of making threatening interstate communications.
McNeil argued in court in December that his various social media accounts which were collected by federal authorities as evidence did not actually contain threats.
Authorities maintained that McNeil’s support of the Islamic State and the tenor of the messages proved his intent.
“This case demonstrates the challenges faced by law enforcement in confronting global terrorism,” said acting U.S. Attorney David A. Sierleja for the Northern District of Ohio. “It highlights the dangers posed by terrorists committed to carrying out attacks here in the United States and their use of social media to accomplish their mission.”
“The National Security Division’s highest priority is counterterrorism,” added Mary B. McCord, acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security. “We will continue to use all of our tools disrupt those who use social media to threaten acts of violence against our military members and their families, on behalf of terrorist organizations.”
The posts, and the case against McNeil, were investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Cleveland.