The American-born terrorist who branded herself Jihad Jane has been sentenced to ten years in jail for her part in the plot to kill Swedish artist Lars Vilks.
Colleen R LaRose pleaded guilty in a Philadelphia court to her role in the attempt to kill Vilks after he had depicted the head of the Muslim prophet Mohammad on a dog in a newspaper cartoon.
The 50-year-old pleaded guilty to following orders from alleged al Qaeda operatives based in Ireland in 2009.
She had converted to Islam online and has maintained her faith. She was given credit for the four years she has already served.
The Irish Times reports that LaRose offered authorities significant help in other terrorism cases since her 2009 arrest.
Known as Jihad Jane online, she had traveled to Europe in 2009 to take part in a militant plot to shoot artist Lars Vilks in the chest six times.
The report says she became impatient with the men who lured her to Europe and returned to America after six weeks where she was arrested on arrival.
LaRose apologized after her sentence for blindly following instructions of her handlers.
She said: “I was in a trance and I couldn’t see anything else.”
Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams had asked the court to sentence LaRose to decades in prison after claiming she is still a danger to society.
Williams told reporters: “She does not fit the stereotype of a jihadist. This is a sentencing that people are watching.
“Ms. LaRose had such a big impact in the public and press because she really did change the face of what the world thought of as a violent jihadist. It was scary for people to hear that Ms. LaRose could have been radicalized simply online in the US.”
Defense lawyer Mark Wilson said: “The plot to kill Vilks was more aspirational than operational.” He added that LaRose had never even fired a gun and described her as a lonely and vulnerable woman easily manipulated by others online.
He claimed her behavior could be explained, in part, by deep psychological scars from her childhood during which her biological father repeatedly raped her from about age seven to 13. She eventually ran away and became a prostitute, according to court documents.
The court heard that at 16 LaRose married a man twice her age and later became a heavy drug user.
She said previously: “I survived a lot of things that should have rightfully have killed me.”
Ali Damache, LaRose’s alleged handler in Ireland, remains jailed there and is fighting extradition to the United States on terrorism charges.
Jamie Paulin Ramirez, who flew from Colorado to marry Damache in Ireland, has pleaded guilty to related terrorism charges and will be sentenced on Wednesday.