Local News

Trial for Triangle terrorism suspects could take months

Posted July 29, 2011 5:01 p.m. EDT
Updated July 29, 2011 6:32 p.m. EDT

— The trial for five Triangle men arrested in 2009 on charges that they plotted acts of terrorism will start Sept. 19 in New Bern and could last up to nine weeks,  Federal Judge Louise Flanagan announced Friday.

Daniel Patrick Boyd, 40, his sons, Dylan Boyd, 23, and Zakariya "Zak" Boyd, 22, and four other men – Hysen Sherifi, 26, Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, 23, Ziyad Yaghi, 22, and Anes Subasic, 34 – were indicted in July 2009 on charges that they plotted to murder, kidnap, maim and injure people overseas. An eighth suspect in the plot is believed to be in Pakistan. A ninth member of the group was arrested in Kosovo two years ago.

Daniel Boyd and Zak Boyd each pleaded guilty earlier this year to conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. Daniel Boyd also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country. Both are awaiting sentencing.

The trial for the remaining five suspects in the U.S. – Dylan Boyd, 23, Hysen Sherifi, 26, Mohammad Omar Aly Hassan, 23, Ziyad Yaghi, 22, and Anes Subasic, 34 – is planned for Sept. 19. 

Attorneys for Hassan said they believe a message board post will help prove their client does not support terrorism.

In November 2008, Hassan posted a workout video on YouTube. In a message board discussion on RossTraining.com, some people commented on his religion because of Arabic writing was visible in the background. Hassan replied to them saying he doesn't support terrorists.

Prosecutors said the men prepared themselves to engage in "violent jihad" and were willing to die as martyrs. The men offered training in weapons and financing and helped arrange overseas travel and contacts so others could perform terrorist acts overseas, prosecutors said.

The FBI has said agents seized about two dozen guns and more than 27,000 rounds of ammunition from the Boyd home in Willow Springs. Authorities have previously said the men went on training expeditions in the weeks leading up to their arrest, practicing military tactics with armor-piercing bullets on a property in Caswell County.