Waco: A Muslim soldier was stopped hours before completing assembly of a bomb that he planned to detonate at a restaurant full of Fort Hood troops, prosecutors said during opening statements on Tuesday at his federal trial.
After Pfc Naser Jason Abdo was arrested at a motel near the Texas Army post in July, police found components for an explosive device in his room and backpack, showing he "intended to commit mass murder”, prosecutor Gregg Sofer said.
Abdo, 22, could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and five other charges.
But lead defence attorney Zach Boyd countered in US District Court in Waco that no bomb was ever built, and the government is "not going to be able to get around that fact”.
Abdo was AWOL from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, when he was arrested in Killeen, Texas. He told investigators that he went to Texas to "martyr himself" for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, said FBI special agent C Michael Owens, the first prosecution witness.
Owens testified that Abdo told investigators he planned to put a bomb in what looked like a gift box, leave it a Chinese buffet frequented by Fort Hood soldiers, wait outside and shoot any survivors.