An ex-soldier from Louisville, Kentucky, will spend the next 45 years behind bars for planning an attack on other soldiers, the Hill reported Saturday.
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) detailed the case in a press release on Friday:
Ethan Phelan Melzer, aka Etil Reggad, 24, of Louisville, pleaded guilty to attempting to murder U.S. service members, providing and attempting to provide material support to terrorists, and illegally transmitting national defense information on June 24, 2022, before U.S. District Judge Gregory H. Woods, who imposed today’s sentence. According to court documents, Melzer planned a jihadist attack on his U.S. Army unit in the days leading up to a deployment to Turkey and sent sensitive details about the unit — including information about its location, movements, and security — to members of the extremist organization Order of the Nine Angles (O9A), a white supremacist, neo-Nazi and pro-jihadist group.
Woods described his crimes as “repugnant,” adding, “He betrayed the United States of America. He betrayed the US military,” he said in court moments before imposing the sentence, according to the New York Post.
Meanwhile, Melzer said he regretted everything, stating, “I wish I could say I’m sorry to my platoon.”
Ethan Melzer, the former US Army private described as “the enemy within” because he plotted with a Satanic neo-Nazi group known as O9A to kill fellow soldiers, was sentenced to 45 years in prison. pic.twitter.com/o9s6J1jyoQ
— Aaron Katersky (@AaronKatersky) March 3, 2023
Per the DOJ’s news release, Melzer is a member of O9A, a group that espouses Neo-Nazi, antisemitic, and Satanic beliefs. The organization also “promotes extreme violence to accelerate and cause the demise of Western civilization” and has voiced admiration for Adolf Hitler and jihadists such as now-deceased former head of al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden.
In May 2011, then-President Barack Obama (D) announced the United States conducted an operation resulting in bin Laden’s death, describing him as “a terrorist who is responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.”
Melzer joined the Army reportedly in 2018. The following year, he deployed to Italy with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. At that time, he consumed propaganda from several extremist groups.
In May 2020, Melzer was reassigned to a unit preparing for deployment. The unit was supposed to guard an isolated, sensitive military base.
Former U.S. Army Soldier Sentenced to 45 Years in Prison for Attempting for Murder Fellow Service Members in Deadly Ambushhttps://t.co/1Ii5xIcwfk
— National Security Division, U.S. Dept of Justice (@DOJNatSec) March 3, 2023
During his training for the assignment, Melzer learned details about the base. He eventually started sharing that information with O9A.
“Melzer secretly used an encrypted messaging application to propose, advocate for, and plan a deadly attack on his fellow service members,” the DOJ’s press release said.
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