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Morganton ISIS Suspect To Plead Guilty


A 20-year-old Morganton man accused of murdering a neighbor and planning attacks on behalf of the Islamic State terrorist group is expected to plead guilty to unspecified charges Tuesday.

Justin Sullivan is due at federal court in Asheville at 9 a.m. Details of the plea agreement were sealed, so it's not clear what charges are included in the guilty plea.

Federal prosecutors allege in court documents that Sullivan talked to an undercover FBI agent in 2015 about killing people on behalf of the terrorist group.  No attack ever happened, but state and federal authorities say Sullivan did rob and kill an elderly neighbor to help pay for a rifle. 

Sullivan was indicted by a federal grand jury in February, and the indictment was updated in August.

Court documents say he attempted to provide material support to the terrorist group, possessed a gun stolen from his father, and used the gun to kill the neighbor, 74-year-old John Clark.  

Prosecutors say Sullivan converted to Islam in 2015 and had destroyed religious items belonging to his parents.

The case had been scheduled for trial in January.


Aug. 16, 2016, Revised indictment, US v. Justin Sullivan (PDF)