NC Judge Nixes Bond in Federal Terrorism Trial
A federal judge has denied bond for a North Carolina man charged with conspiring to hire a hit man to behead three witnesses from his brother’s terrorism trial.
Senior U.S. District Judge W. Earl Britt ruled Monday that Shkumbin Sherifi won’t be released before his trial in November. Prosecutors say Sherifi, 21, plotted the murders for hire with his older brother and a Raleigh special education teacher, Nevine Aly Elshiekh.
Hysen Sherifi was sentenced to 45 years in prison in January for plotting to attack the U.S. Marine Corps base at Quantico, Va., and targets overseas. The Sherifi brothers are Kosovar Albanians who immigrated to the United States with their family in 1999, fleeing a brutal sectarian war in their homeland.
According to prosecutors, while the older brother was being held at the New Hanover County jail he approached another inmate and asked if he knew anyone will to kill people for money. The other inmate then contacted the FBI, which set up an elaborate sting where a woman posed as the representative of a fictional hit man code named “Treetop.”
Prosecutors say Elshiekh and Shkumbin Sherifi met with the FBI informant and gave her $5,000 in cash toward killing the first target, a Moroccan man who had worked as a government informant during the investigation of the plot against the Marine base.
Through the female informant, the FBI provide Shkumbin Sherifi faked photos that appeared to show the beheaded corpse and severed head of the Moroccan man as proof the hit had been carried out. Sherifi then took those photos to the jail outside Wilmington to show his older brother, according to the FBI, which recorded their conversation.
According to a transcript introduced into evidence Monday, upon seeing the photos, Hysen Sherifi told his younger brother that he had assisted in “the greatest jihad” and that he would be rewarded.