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Pair pleads guilty in plot to kill witnesses in Triangle terror trial

Posted November 1, 2012

— Two people pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges that they plotted to behead witnesses from a terrorism trial involving several Triangle men.

Nevine Aly Elshiekh, 47, and Shkumbin Sherifi, 22, each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder for hire. They are scheduled to be sentenced in February, when they face up to 10 years in prison.

Elshiekh and Sherifi were arrested in January after an FBI sting in which Sherifi's brother, Hysen Sherifi, allegedly tried to have three witnesses in his October 2011 federal terrorism trial killed.

Hysen Sherifi, 27, was sentenced in January to 45 years in prison for plotting to attack the U.S. Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va., as well as targets overseas. Six other men also are serving federal prison sentences for their roles in the terror cell.

Court records show that an FBI informant posing as a hit man accepted a $750 down payment on a killing from Elshiekh, who also provided the informant with the names of the people to be killed.

Shkumbin Sherifi later paid the informant $4,250 for the first killing, and the informant showed him doctored photos that appeared to show a beheaded corpse in a shallow grave as a way of confirming that he had killed a witness, according to court records.

Defense attorneys for Elshiekh, a former special education teacher at Sterling Montessori Academy and Charter School in Morrisville, had maintained that she was a pawn in the alleged plot.

She struck up a relationship with Hysen Sherifi after his trial, which she attended because she is a family friend of Omar Hassan, another member of the terror cell who was tried along with Sherifi.

Hysen Sherifi Convicted terrorist to face trial in murder-for-hire plot

Her attorneys said she was just a courier who passed along information from Hysen Sherifi and

never knew that he wanted people beheaded.

Aly Elshiekh, a retired North Carolina State University professor, declined to comment on his daughter's plea, saying only that he believes in the U.S. justice system.

Defense attorney James Payne said pleading guilty was difficult for Shkumbin Sherifi.

"He was ready and willing to come forward and do the right thing," Payne said.

As part of their plea agreements, Elshiekh and Shkumbin Sherifi could testify against Hysen Sherifi when his trial begins next week.

31 Comments

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  • NotFromHere Nov 1, 6:35 p.m.

    "When she is found innocent what will you say??

    Here's what I will do, this will be fun. I will keep a close eye on this case and the facts and follow it until it's conclusion. When the outcome posts here I will return as shall you and we will each answer that question?" - Crucialcobversations

    Umm, so what do you have to say now? You gave the impression before that the FBI had made this whole thing up. Now you going to say she was tortured into admitting guilt?

  • trianglerelic Nov 1, 4:06 p.m.

    Who needs to fight Al Queda overseas when we seem to have terrorists growing here locally.. Glad they were caught.

  • beach2011 Nov 1, 3:57 p.m.

    AMEN JDAmbrosio!! I like that idea!!!

  • Mom2two Nov 1, 3:55 p.m.

    So much for all the people who swore she couldn't have done and it was a government conspiracy. I just love it when someone is charged and all their "friends" insist they couldn't have done anything like that....and then they plead guilty.

  • GravyPig Nov 1, 3:53 p.m.

    "Fbi wants to keep you scared..Always plenty of useful knuckleheads to stir up fear!"

    Let's see.... I don't live on base at Quantico, I don't live abroad, and they caught people involved. Who is scared? I know I'm not. I'd say the FBI was doing a darn good job. Keep up the good work boys.

  • foghat001 Nov 1, 3:49 p.m.

    Sigh. It's not the MUSLIMS, it's the less than 1% of Muslims that turn to terrorism. People, please stop painting an entire religious group with such a wide brush. You're offending the perfectly law-abiding, peace-loving people who may read these comments and doing damage you may regret later. You want to know who has suffered a hundred times more from the terrorism of these extremists over the past three decades than America? Muslims in the middle east.

  • lisa4 Nov 1, 3:48 p.m.

    Good idea JDAmbrosio

  • JDAmbrosio Nov 1, 3:25 p.m.

    Let's hold their trial at Ground Zero and let the families and friends of the 9/11 terrorism victims be the judge and jury.

  • samr Nov 1, 3:24 p.m.

    Relic --

    Nowhere did I deny that at all but they do not represent true Islam, just the parts that they choose in order to justify their acts of terror.

  • Relic Nov 1, 3:09 p.m.

    "Muslims weren't the first and they likely won't be the last." True but they are the most current, the most active and right now the most dangerous of religious zealots to citizens of the US. To deny that fact is to deny reality and that does nothing to "bring them (people) closer together".

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