RALEIGH, N.C. — A Raleigh man convicted in a homegrown terrorism plot faces new charges in connection with an attempt to hire a hit man to behead three witnesses who testified against him.
Hysen Sherifi was indicted on nine counts Tuesday, accused of plotting with his younger brother and a female friend to pay a hit man to carry out the killings. Court records say an FBI informant accepted $5,000 in payment and then provided faked photos appearing to show a beheaded corpse as confirmation of the hit.
Shkumbin Sherifi, 21, and Nevine Aly Elshiekh, 46, were arrested last month. They face additional charges in the new indictment.
FBI agents say Elshiekh provided the informant with the names of those to be killed and a $750 down payment toward the first hit. Shkumbin Sherifi later paid the informant another $4,250, agents 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 attorneys say she was a pawn in the scheme, noting she was just a courier who passed along information from Hysen Sherifi and never knew that he wanted people beheaded.
They have appealed a judge's order that she remain in jail until her trial.
Hysen Sherifi, 27, was sentenced in January to 45 years in prison for plots to attack the Marine base at Quantico, Va., and targets overseas. He was among seven Triangle-area residents charged in 2009 with conspiring to carry out terrorist attacks, raising money and gathering weapons to support terrorist activities and engaging in military-style training.
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.