2 men face more than 14 years in prison for a Minnesota mosque bombing

Michael McWhorter, left, and Joe Morris pleaded guilty to their roles in the mosque bombing and face more than 14 years in prison.

By Amy Simonson, CNN

(CNN) -- Two Illinois men were sentenced Tuesday for their roles in the 2017 bombing of the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Michael McWhorter, 33, and Joe Morris, 26, were each sentenced to more than 14 years in prison Tuesday for firearms violations, arson, use of a destructive device and federal civil rights violations in connection with the bombing, according to a statement from the Minnesota US Attorney's Office.

McWhorter was sentenced to 190 months, and Morris was sentenced to 170 months, the statement said.

Both men had pleaded guilty in January 2019. A third person, Emily Hari, was previously convicted for Hari's role in the bombing and sentenced to 53 years in prison, a US Department of Justice statement said.

On August 5, 2017, McWhorter and Morris drove in a rented pickup truck "to bomb the DAF Islamic Center," the statement from the US Attorney's Office said.

An improvised explosive device was detonated at the mosque. No one was injured in the blast.

"Hate-fueled acts of violence like the bombing of the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center violate our laws and run contrary to our values as a nation," Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division said in the statement.

"This heinous bombing instilled fear in an entire faith community. These defendants made the decision to confess to their crimes and assist in the civil rights prosecution of the individual who led them to join a far-reaching criminal conspiracy rooted in white supremacy."

An attorney for McWhorter, Christopher Madel, said "Michael is excited to get on with his life. I have every confidence that he will be a productive member of our society."

Joe Morris' attorney, Robert Richman, said in a statement: "For the last four years, Joe Morris has done everything in his power to make amends."

Michael Paul, special agent in charge of the FBI's Minneapolis division, called it a "violent, hate-driven attack."

"More broadly, this was an attack on all faith-based communities that openly practice their religions with a reasonable expectation of peaceful freedom to do so."

The-CNN-Wire
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