The children discovered at the clandestine Islamic terrorist training camp in New Mexico earlier this month were, according to state prosecutors, trained to use firearms and taught tactical techniques to murder teachers, law enforcement officers and officials within other targeted institutions.
Despite the disturbing details of the case, though, Judge Sarah Backus, who admitted the information was “troubling,” said prosecutors failed to convince her the five defendants were a threat to the community, Fox News reported. As such, she set a $20,000 bond for each suspect and ordered they be outfitted with ankle bracelets to monitor their locations and maintain weekly contact with their respective attorneys.
Further, Reuters reported that 3-year-old Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, who went missing in December 2017 and was the catalyst for the months-long search that led investigators to the “extremist Muslim” compound in Taos County, likely died as a result of a ritualistic ceremonies intended to “cast out demonic spirits.”
Taos County Prosecutor John Lovelace described the events as “religious ritual[s].” Abdul’s father, 39-year-old Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, refused to give his young son medication.
The remaining 11 children taken into custody during the raid of the compound in early August explained to investigators they were told Abdul, who allegedly died in February, would be resurrected as Jesus, who would tell them which “corrupt institutions” to attack, according to NBC News reporter Gadi Schwartz.
The children told investigators they were told Abdul would be resurrected as Jesus and instruct them on what corrupt institutions to attack. Including teachers. The children were allegedly given tactical training on how to clear rooms and taught how to shoot firearms.
— Gadi Schwartz (@GadiNBC) August 13, 2018
FBI agent Travis Taylor testified about interviews he conducted with two children from the compound, ages 13 and 15, who shared details surrounding Abdul’s tragic death, according to CNN.
Wahhaj, the son of a radical Muslim imam linked to the 1993 World Trade Center bombings, his wife Jany Leveille and his brother-in-law Lucas Morten — each of whom now face 11 counts of child abuse — arrived in New Mexico from Georgia in January.
In the spiritual rituals, performed by Wahhaj at Leveille’s request, Wahhaj recited passages from the Quran and held his hand on his little son’s forehead as he foamed from the mouth, Taylor recalled the children telling him. During one of those ceremonies, which went on for several days, Abdul’s heart stopped beating and he died.
The family washed Abdul’s body multiple times, wrapped him in a sheet, and as his body deteriorated, placed him in a tunnel under the compound.
During the court hearing Monday, prosecutors presented books found on the compound, documents about Wahhaj’s trip to Saudi Arabia and a handwritten notebook that appeared to contain teaching information. Wahhaj had also apparently taken a handful of firearm training courses in Georgia.
The defendants’ attorneys, on the other hand, argued prosecutors were erroneously depicting the suspects as radicalized militants. They claimed all the firearms found at the facility were legal, adding the defendants didn’t use violence to protect the compound when the raid occurred.
It should be noted New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) voiced her concerns over the judge’s decision to grant bond to the suspects involved in the case.
“I strongly disagree with this decision,” she said in a statement, KOB-TV reported. “Unfortunately, it highlights how extreme the New Mexico Supreme Court has been in dictating pretrial release for all kinds of dangerous criminals.”