A district judge in New Mexico dropped charges against three people who were linked to a compound where alleged Muslim extremists held starving children and were allegedly planning to carry out attacks.
District Judge Emilio Chavez dismissed charges against three of five defendants, citing the New Mexico state “10-day rule,” Fox News reported on Aug. 29.
Lucas Morton, Subhannah Wahhaj, and Hujrah Wahhaj were facing child abuse charges in the case. Prosecutors missed the 10-day mark for an evidentiary hearing to establish probable cause against the suspects, and the charges were dropped, the report said.
The judge added that it is very difficult decision to drop the charges, but he said the state’s rule left him with no option.
They could be released as early as the afternoon on Aug. 29, The Associated Press reported.
Charges dropped against 3 of 5 suspects arrested at New Mexico compound.
Judge says Lucas Morten, Hujrah Wahhaj, and Subhannah Wahhaj can’t be kept in custody as prosecutors missed 10-day limit to establish probable cause for neglect charges. https://t.co/Ex236mMf5w
— Natasha Fatah (@NatashaFatah) August 29, 2018
Prosecutors can still seek charges for the suspects by going to a grand jury to indict them but offered no immediate indication on what they are planning to do.
Charges against Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and Jany Leveille, the two other suspects, remain.
Health officials confirmed in early August that remains were found on the property, and they belonged to a missing 3-year-old boy from Georgia.
Wahhaj, the child’s father, and Leveille received charges on Aug. 24 of abuse of a child resulting in the death of a child and conspiracy to commit abuse of a child, Fox reported, citing Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe.
Leveille Wahhaj wanted to confront and attack “corrupt” institutions, including a hospital in Atlanta, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Aug. 26.
“A specific ‘corrupt’ institution named by one of the children was Grady Hospital,” according to a court document.
Meanwhile, the children on the compound told police that Leveille “intended to confront ‘corrupt’ institutions or individuals, such as the military, big businesses, CIA, teachers/schools, and reveal the ‘truth’ to these corrupt institutions or individuals,” the document said, CNN reported.
The couple planned to “shoot or otherwise attack” individuals they failed to persuade with their “message,” the court documents said, the paper reported.
CNN reported that a document found on the property was titled, “Phases of a Terrorist Attack,” which had instructions for “The one-time terrorist,” instructions on the use of a “choke point,” a location called “the ideal attack site,” the “ability to defend the safe haven,” the “ability to escape-perimeter rings,” and “sniper position detection procedure,” according to the court filing.
Several children who lived at the compound told police that Morten allegedly “stated he wished to die in Jihad, as a martyr,” prosecutors said. “At times, Jany Leveille would laugh and joke about dying in Jihad as would Subhanna Wahhaj,” said the court document.
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