HARRISBURG, Pa. - A 19-year-old Pennsylvania man on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to charges of supporting Islamic State by trying to help others travel to the Middle East where the militant group is engaging in ground combat.
The man, Jalil Ibn Ameer Aziz, spoke little during a hearing at US District Court in Harrisburg, just entering his plea and indicating he understood the proceedings.
Prosecutors contended that he had put together a "go bag" including ammunition for an assault rifle, a knife and a black mask.
"The evidence is extremely strong," said Assistant US Attorney Daryl Bloom. "We know that he wants to kill all unbelievers."
Jalil had a "kill list" of 100 individuals, their addresses and personal information, he said.
His public defender, Lori Ulrich, argued that the evidence against her client presented by the US Justice Department was not what it seemed.
"The government calls it a 'go bag,'" she said. "It was a backpack. There were no firearms in the house capable of firing that ammunition."
She said Jalil had no criminal record, no passport, no money and no ability to get money and that his Twitter activity in support of Islamic State was "independent advocacy."
Federal Magistrate Martin Carlson ordered that Jalil remain in custody.
He could be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison if convicted of the charges he faces: one count of attempted material support of a terrorist organization and one count of conspiracy to support a terrorist organization.
Apparent members of his family and friends, which included women with babies and an elderly woman in a wheelchair, declined to speak with reporters after the proceeding.
Jalil was arrested on Dec. 17, two weeks after a married couple killed 14 people in an attack in San Bernardino, California, which investigators believe was inspired by Islamic State militants.