LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – News cameras from across the country were in the Hub City as the nation got its first look at the terror suspect arrested in Lubbock for trying to make weapons of mass destruction.
Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari has retained a Lubbock attorney Rod Hobson to represent him. The 20-year-old will remain in custody until a detention hearing scheduled for March 11th.
Federal officials stopped traffic outside the George H. Mahon Federal Building as the van transporting Aldawsari arrived. U.S. Marshals escorted him from the van to the building with guns in hand. Additional agents and bomb sniffing dogs were also present.
Aldwasari walked with his head down to the federal building. His initial appearance in federal court lasted five minutes. The courtroom was packed with members of the media from across the country.
The suspect did appear to keep a straight face and at one point smiled. He answered a series of questions. The judge told the court that since Aldawsari is not an American citizen, the Saudi Arabian consulate has been in contact with him.
Aldawsari faces federal charges of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. According to the indictment unsealed Thursday, Aldawsari came to Lubbock in 2009 to study chemical engineering at Texas Tech. The indictment also says federal officials found materials to make a bomb inside his apartment one block from Texas Tech during a secret search. Officials also discovered journal entries that revealed the suspect had plans to carry out terrorist attacks for years.
Hobson has been retained to represent Aldawsari on this case. In a written statement, Hobson says his client has entered a plea of not guilty to the charges. He also writes that the press coverage has been very one sided and biased and that the eyes of the world are on this case and the treatment of this accused person.
Lubbock County Sheriff Kelly Rowe says Aldawsari is administratively separated from other inmates at the detention center and that he is in protected custody.
A detention hearing is on the docket for March 11th.
Aldawsari faces up to life in prison.
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