Man Accused of Trying to Join Islamic State Pleads Guilty

March 11, 2016 Updated: March 11, 2016

JACKSON, Miss.— A young Mississippi man pleaded guilty Friday to a terrorism charge, months after authorities say he and his fiancee were trying to go to Syria to join the Islamic State.

Muhammad Dakhlalla, 23, pleaded guilty to providing material support to terrorism and faces up to 20 years in prison, $250,000 fines and lifetime probation.

His fiancee, Jaelyn Delshaun Young, is also accused of attempting to join the Islamic State. Her trial is set for June 6.

The couple was arrested Aug. 8 before boarding a flight from Columbus, Mississippi, with tickets for Istanbul. Authorities say they contacted undercover federal agents last year, seeking online help in traveling to Syria. Both are jailed.

The couple’s arrest last fall stunned their families. They were promising students. Dakhlalla is the youngest of three sons and was preparing to start graduate school at Mississippi State University. Young was also planning on going to college.