State News

Father's plea for woman's release in beheading plot unheeded

Posted February 3, 2012
Updated March 8, 2012

— A federal judge on Friday ordered a woman to remain in custody pending her trial on murder-for-hire charges linked to a local terrorism case, despite her father's request to have her released into his custody.

Nevine Aly Elshiekh, 46, was arrested last month after FBI agents tracked her to a meeting in Wilmington with a government informant posing as a hit man's representative. Authorities allege that Hysen Sherifi, who is serving a 45-year federal prison sentence for plotting to attack the Marine base at Quantico, Va., and targets overseas, wanted three witnesses from his trial last fall killed.

Elshiekh struck up a relationship with Sherifi after his trial, which she attended because she is a family friend of co-defendant Omar Hassan, FBI agent Julia Hanish said.

Aly Elshiekh told U.S. Magistrate Robert Jones that he would keep his daughter under watch around the clock if she was released.

An 80-year-old native of Egypt, Aly Elshiekh taught at North Carolina State University's College of Textiles before retiring in 2000. He now runs a restaurant near his west Raleigh home.

"If she did wrong, she will be judged. If she was conned, I hope the system will take care of that and take that into consideration," he testified.

FBI agents say Nevine Elshiekh provided the informant with the names of those to be killed and a $750 down payment toward the first hit.

Charles Swift, one of two high-profile attorneys representing Elshiekh, tried to portray her as a pawn in Sherifi's scheme, noting she was just a courier who passed along information from Sherifi and never knew that he wanted people beheaded.

Charles Swift and Linda Moreno Attorneys: Woman accused in murder plot not a threat

"The evidence we'll show is that she's a woman, that she was recently divorced and that she was a victim of an evil man," he said after the hearing.

Hanish testified, however, that Elshiekh admitted to authorities after her arrest that she knew the information she carried involved a planned killing.

"She acknowledged she understood there was to be a killing," Hanish said.

Elshiekh has led the special education program at Sterling Montessori Academy and Charter School in Morrisville for nine years. She is now on leave from the school.

Her father said she would like to be released so she can return to teaching.

"She misses her kids. The kids miss her," Aly Elshiekh said.

Jones ruled that Elshiekh is a flight risk because she has relatives in Egypt and because authorities said they cannot find her passport.

In addition to Swift, a Navy JAG officer who represented Osama Bin Laden's driver in a U.S. Supreme Court case, Linda Moreno is also working Elshiekh's case. Moreno defended Sami Al-Arian, the former N.C. State professor who was convicted of supporting terrorism.

The attorneys said they were disappointed that Elshiekh wasn't released, and they plan to appeal, saying electronic monitoring could be used to ensure she doesn't flee.

"We do feel very good that, in a case where it's alleged our client was part of this conspiracy of murder-for-hire, the courts found specifically that she was not a danger to the community," Moreno said. "The fair inference from that is that she is not a violent person."

Jones last week ordered Shkumbin Sherifi, the 21-year-old brother of the terror defendant, to remain in custody in the murder-for-hire case, calling him a flight risk.

Authorities allege that Shkumbin Sherifi also paid the informant for the killing and later took a doctored photo of a beheaded corpse to show his brother in prison.

102 Comments

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  • merrywidow Feb 6, 2:27 p.m.

    "Does anyone know if this is the same Neva Elsheikh who went to Broughton high school in the early 1980's? Thanks! RaleighRocks"

    It's got to be! The face is exactly as I remember Neva from Martin Jr. High and Broughton!

    -Broughton Class of '83

  • gassy1 Feb 3, 7:16 p.m.

    Conned or not-she is an educated woma and should be punished to the fullest extent possible. Protect our way of life and liberty from these monstrous terrorists who want to wage evil towards our country and citizens.

  • Sherlock Feb 3, 6:14 p.m.

    The donations they are asking for will be use to support thier movement even more. Time to ship them back to their home land and take their property to pay for th etrip back.

  • smcallah Feb 3, 6:14 p.m.

    "Don't worry about her "teaching" any more. She is no longer eligible to hold a position in any "school" with a felony arrest on her record."

    Felony ARREST is not a felony CONVICTION. You are getting things confused.

    I'm not saying she didn't do this, apparently they have evidence that is pretty clear. But you shouldn't be spouting false information.

  • smcallah Feb 3, 6:11 p.m.

    "Oh, and I want to ask the Montosorri school.....how well do you check your teacher's backgrounds? This woman is keeping your children!"

    Did you ever once consider that this woman had no prior record?

    What else do you think the school should have checked? And please make sense with your answer.

  • smcallah Feb 3, 6:09 p.m.

    "this woman is morbid looking........scary..........and she was an administrator at a SCHOOL??? "

    And how good would you look for your mugshot where you were arrested and charged with paying to have 3 federal witnesses killed?

  • computer trainer Feb 3, 6:02 p.m.

    UNREAL!! She is not VIOLENT? She was trying to HIRE a HITMAN, to cut someone's HEAD off!! I would say that is VIOLENT! And NO, they should not release her.

  • cantstandya Feb 3, 5:37 p.m.

    We need to declare jihad on their way of life see how they like living in fear.

  • westernwake1 Feb 3, 5:21 p.m.

    "Father plea for woman's release in beheading plot unheeded"

    Good! This woman is a flight risk and terrorist involved in a plot to behead people. There is no way she should be let out of jail.

    If the Muslim community wants any respect in mainstream America they need to come out clearly and condemn her crime.

  • shepherdofwolves Feb 3, 5:18 p.m.

    Anyone know which west Raleigh restaurant?

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