Starkville man who tried to join ISIS sentenced to 96 months in prison

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Mississippi Today

U.S. Courthouse in Jackson

Muhammad Oda Dakhlalla of Starkville was sentenced Wednesday to 96 months in prison after he admitted he tried to join the Middle Eastern terror group The Islamic State.

On Aug. 11, Chief U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock also sentenced his fiancé, Jaelyn Young of Vicksburg, to 144 months in prison on the same charge.

In 2015 the FBI discovered the pair planned to leave the U.S. from Columbus and fly to Turkey, where they wanted to join the terrorism group in Syria.

They were arrested in August 2015 and accused of conspiring to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization. They both pleaded guilty in March 2016.

Dakhlalla, 23, and Young, 20, met at Mississippi State University where she was a student, working in a chemistry lab, and he prepared to enter graduate school. Their plans were revealed through FBI electronic surveillance.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons will decide where they spend their sentences. After each completes sentence, they will be on supervised release for five years.

  • Charles Pearce

    This story would make a bizarre romance novel.