A Manhattan jury has found Ahmad Khan Rahimi – the so-called “Chelsea bomber” – guilty of setting off explosives in New York and New Jersey that injured 30 people.
The explosions both took place on the night of 17 September 2016 in the Chelsea neighbourhood of New York City, and in Seaside Park, New Jersey.
Court records indicate he placed improvised explosive devices at two intersections of Chelsea, one of which was a pressure cooker in a garbage dumpster that injured people in a 650 ft zone.
According to his indictment in 2016, “the injuries included, among other things, lacerations to the face, abdomen, legs, and arms caused by flying glass, metal shrapnel and fragmentation embedded in skin and bone, and various head injuries”.
Acting US Attorney Joon Kim said in a statement: “[Rahimi] attacked our country and our way of life…As a result, he now faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Today’s verdict is a victory for New York City, a victory for America in its fight against terror, and a victory for all who believe in the cause of justice.”
Sabrina Shroff, Rahimi’s lawyer, said her client never intended for the second device on 27th Street in Chelsea, to explode, but admitted to the 23rd Street pressure cooker bomb that caused the injuries.
The jury could have found the 29-year-old not guilty on the count of the 27th Street bomb, but instead found him guilty on all counts.
In addition to the Seaside Park, New Jersey explosion, Rahimi had planted another near a train station in the area. It was found and defused by police.
Two days after the bombings he was caught after a shootout with police in Linden, New Jersey.
In his possession, they found a journal in which Rahimi praised al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki, as well as Nidal Hasan, the US Army medical corps psychiatrist who admitted to shooting and killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009.
In addition to the journals, Rahimi’s fingerprints were found on at least one of the devices and video surveillance tracked his movements between the sites.
His sentencing is scheduled for 18 January 2018.