Published July 05, 2017
An ex-convict who plotted a foiled New Year's Eve machete attack at an upstate New York restaurant in the name of the Islamic State group was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison, provoking a courtroom outburst in which he shouted "there's going to be more of us."
Emanuel Lutchman, 26, wrote before the sentencing that he had moved on from a "radical Islamic ideology," but after drawing a sentence twice as long as his lawyer had sought, became agitated.
"You think because I'm going to be incarcerated there aren't going to be more of us that rise up?" he said while shouting and swearing at U.S. District Judge Frank Geraci.
In response, Geraci increased Lutchman's supervised release after serving his time from 30 years to 50 years.
Lutchman pleaded guilty in August to conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.
At the direction of a now-deceased recruiter for the Islamic State group in Syria, Lutchman planned a knife and machete attack inside Merchants Grill in Rochester on Dec. 31, 2015, according to the plea agreement. The attack never happened.
The goal was to give the terror group an attack to claim and prove Lutchman worthy of joining the organization when he traveled overseas, court documents said.
"Viewed in this context, it would be hard to overstate the danger that Lutchman presented," Acting United States Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. said Thursday.
The FBI used informants to uncover the plot, including one who went with Lutchman to a store two days before the planned attack. They bought two black ski masks, two knives, a machete, zip-ties, duct tape, ammonia and latex gloves.
Lutchman was arrested the next day, after covering his face with a scarf and making a video in which he said: "The blood that you spill of the Muslim overseas, we gonna spill the blood of the kuffar," or non-believers.
In a pre-sentencing letter to the court, Lutchman called the plot "twisted" and said his history of mental illness and "abandonment issues" led him toward terrorism. Lutchman was a former gang member who converted to Islam while in prison for a 2006 robbery conviction and was influenced by other inmates' religious extremism, his lawyer said in court documents.
"I was never certain on this path I didn't really want to tread," Lutchman wrote.
Geraci said Lutchman's behavior in court showed otherwise and that he still adheres to his old beliefs.
"Yes I do," Lutchman responded. "There's going to be more of us."