An AWOL soldier accused of plotting to detonate bombs in a restaurant filled with Fort Hood troops and then shoot any survivors was expected back in court Thursday to be arraigned on six new charges.
Among the new charges Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo faces is trying to use a weapon of mass destruction, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
He also was indicted last week by a federal grand jury in Waco on one count of attempted murder of officers or employees of the United States, two counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a federal crime of violence, and two counts of possession of a destructive device in furtherance of a federal crime of violence.
Prosecutors have said they plan to try him first on the six new charges, which carry lengthier prison terms, although he was indicted in August on three federal charges related to the same bomb plot near the Texas Army post this summer. He has not yet entered a plea on the initial charges -- possession of an unregistered destructive device, possession of a firearm and possession of ammunition by a fugitive from justice. Each carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Abdo, who remains in federal custody in Waco, was arrested in July at a Killeen motel near Fort Hood. Investigators say they found a handgun, an article titled "Make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom" and the ingredients for an explosive device, including gunpowder, shrapnel and pressure cookers. An article with that title appears in an al-Qaida magazine.
After his arrest, he told authorities he planned to make two bombs and detonate them in a restaurant where Fort Hood soldiers eat, according to documents filed in the case.
Abdo, 21, was approved as a conscientious objector this year after citing his Muslim beliefs, but that status was put on hold after he was charged with possessing child pornography. He went absent without leave from Fort Campbell, Ky., in early July.
Authorities have said there is a gag order in the Texas case.