A schizophrenic ex-Marine convicted of shooting at the Pentagon and other military buildings in 2010 was sentenced Friday to 25 years in prison, according to the Associated Press.
Twenty-five-year-old Yonathan Melaku (meh-LAH-koo) of Alexandria, Va., who pleaded guilty last year to firing on the Marine Corps museum in Quantico and several military recruiting stations, confirmed at Friday’s sentencing hearing that he wanted to go forward with the plea deal despite the potential for an insanity defense.
Passing on the deal would have meant risking an 85-year sentence for the former Marine Corps reservist.
Authorities arrested Melaku more than six months after a rash of non-deadly shootings occurred at military facilities in Northern Virginia. They found the man hiding in Arlington National Cemetery with a backpack containing ammonium nitrate and a can of black spray paint.
Federal prosecutors said Melaku planned to spray paint Arabic statements on the markers and leave the explosive materials nearby as part of a solitary campaign of “fear and terror.”
Government doctors have diagnosed Melaku as schizophrenic. His plea deal called for a non-negotiable 25-year sentence.