American Jewish Committee (AJC) welcomed the decision of a Manhattan court to sentence three of the four men charged in a plot to bomb synagogues in the Riverdale section of The Bronx to twenty-five years in prison.
“These are appropriately harsh sentences which send a clear signal that American courts will show no leniency toward terrorists,” said Yehudit Barsky, director of AJC’s Division on Middle East and International Terrorism. “The only reason the murderous plans of these men, all committed jihadists, did not succeed is because they were caught in a ‘sting’ operation, and the devices they planted were fake. What matters in this case, however, was their intent – which was to kill as many innocent people as possible.”
The three defendants who were sentenced were James Cromitie, 45; Onta Williams, 35; and David Williams IV, 30, all of Newburgh, New York. The sentencing of a fourth defendant, Laguerre Payen, has been postponed pending the result of a psychiatric review.
The four terrorists were convicted in October 2010 in a case that relied on a government informer who, posing as a Pakistani terrorist, spent months recording discussions with the defendants about placing bombs outside synagogues in the Riverdale neighborhood. Cromitie made anti-Semitic remarks to the informer, pledging to commit violent acts of terror.
In handing down the sentence, Judge Colleen McMahon of the United States District Court declared: “Your crimes were terrible. Your punishment will indeed be severe.”