Raleigh, N.C. — One of the men involved in a Johnston County terrorist cell that authorities said plotted attacks on a Marine base in Virginia and foreign targets tried to have witnesses in his trial last fall killed, according to federal records unsealed Monday.
Hysen Sherifi was found guilty after a month-long trial of conspiring to provide material support to terrorism and conspiring to carry out attacks overseas, two counts of firearms possession and conspiring to kill federal officers or employees. He was sentenced two weeks ago to 45 years in prison.
Federal authorities said Sherifi tried to hire someone to kill and behead at least three witnesses in the case, and he wanted pictures of the corpses to prove that they were dead. He also wanted a fellow inmate killed, believing the man tricked him out of some money, according to court documents.
Undercover agents say $5,000 traded hands on Jan. 8 to kill the first person, according to court documents.
Sherifi's brother, Shkumbin Sherifi, and a woman named Nevine Aly Elshiekh have been charged in the case. The relationship between Elshiekh and the Sherifis wasn't clear, but she visited Hysen Sherifi several times at the New Hanover County jail, where he is being held as a federal prisoner, court records state.
Elshiekh is on leave from the Sterling Montessori Academy and Charter School in Morrisville, school officials said Tuesday, noting that they were aware of the charges against her and are cooperating with authorities in the investigation. She has taught at the school for nine years and heads its special education program.
A woman named Nevine Elshiekh also is listed as an instructor at the Al-Furqan school, which is part of the Islamic Association of Raleigh. Calls and emails to the group weren't returned Tuesday.
Shkumbin Sherifi and Elshiekh are scheduled to have detention hearings at the federal courthouse in Wilmington on Friday.
Hysen Sherifi was among seven area men arrested in 2009 on charges that they plotted to attack targets overseas, raised money and gathered weapons to support terrorist activities and engaged in military-style training.
Sherifi and the accused ringleader, Daniel Patrick Boyd, also planned an attack on the Marine base in Quantico, Va.
Six of the men have been convicted, and the seventh is awaiting trial. An eighth suspect in the case is believed to be in Pakistan.