Dallas Bomb Plot Suspect on Suicide Watch

Smadi to appear in court on Oct. 5 for probable cause hearing

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Ellis County Sheriff's Department
    Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, 19, has been arrested and charged in a federal criminal complaint with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, the FBI said.

    Federal prison guards in Seagoville are keeping a close eye on 19-year-old Hosam Maher Husein Smadi.\

    Smadi was placed on suicide watch after Friday's court appearance, according to the Dallas Morning News.

    Smadi, a Jordanian national, was arrested Thursday after federal officials said he placed what he believed to be an explosives-laden truck in a parking garage beneath the 60-story Fountain Place tower in Dallas. He was charged with trying to detonate a weapon of mass destruction and faces up to life in prison if convicted.

    Folks Knew Dallas Bomb Plot Suspect as 'Good Guy'

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    To his friends in this small Texas town, 19-year-old Hosam Maher Husein Smadi was known as "Sam" -- a kind, fun-loving guy who enjoyed dancing to techno music.

    Smadi made his first court appearance Friday in Dallas, where he was appointed a public defender and Arabic translator. He remained in jail on Friday and will next appear in court on Oct. 5.

    Defense attorney Richard Anderson said he has "little to say" on the case, other than his client was scared, far from family and dealing with a language barrier.

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    In Jordan, Smadi's father insisted his son is innocent. He said Smadi and his brother, Hussein, 18, came to the United States in 2007 on a student visa. U.S. immigration authorities did not comment on Smadi's status, citing confidentiality.

    "The issue is completely fabricated, and in our family, we never condoned terrorism," Maher Hussein Smadi said from his home in Jordan.

    The Jordanian Embassy in Washington has contacted the U.S. State and Justice departments about the case, Jordan's government spokesman said Sunday.

    Nabil al-Sharif said the efforts were aimed at ensuring a "fair trail for the Jordanian youth."

    Smadi was living in Italy, Texas, a small North Texas town. The pastor of First Baptist Church in Italy talked about the arrest during his sermon Sunday morning.

    "Yes, we live in a terrible, distressed world, but God's not left the throne, and God's still there,” Pastor Ronnie Dabney said in his sermon.

    He suggested people pray, and pray often.

    "When we have these problems, and these situations arise, we got to ask him, what can I do, Lord?" Dabney said.

    Church members said they were shocked by Smadi's arrest.

    "At first I couldn't believe it, that someone from here could do something like that," Elaine Richards said.

    Larry Norcross said he had Smadi several times and never thought Smadi would be accused in a bomb plot.

    "You can't tell by looking at someone and the way that they act, so it's scary to me that something like that could come from a town like Italy, Texas," he said.

    Kim Fischer contributed to this report.