Mumbai Attack Conspirator Headley Gets 35 Year Prison Term

Iconic Cafe in Mumbai, scene of 2008 massacre

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Chicago – Terrorist David Coleman Headley, one of the key players in the planning of the Mumbai massacre that killed more than 160 people including six Americans in 2008, was sentenced today (January 24) in Chicago’s federal court  to 35 years in prison.

At the court appearance today, Linda Ragsdale, a Nashville woman who was shot in the back during the 2008 rampage in India, expressed surprise at the youth of the terrorists involved in the attacks.

Fighting back tears, Ragsdale described a barrage of bullets so intense that “waves of heat clouded” her vision adding, “I know what a bullet could do to every part of the human body.” “I know the sound of life leaving a 13-year-old child. These are things I never needed to know, never needed to experience,” Ragsdale said.

Reading from a statement from another survivor of the shooting, Ragsdale read that it would be an “appalling dishonor” if Headley was sentenced to the 30 to 35 years in prison recommended by federal prosecutors.

There was a surprise appearance at the sentencing hearing by former US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who told US District Judge Harry Leinenweber that Headley was involved in a “very, very heinous crime.” Fitzgerald, however, asked the judge to consider the “unusual nature” of Headley’s cooperation.

Headley, 52,  appearing amid heightened security in Leinenweber’s courtroom, faced up to life in prison, but federal prosecutors, citing his extraordinary cooperation, sought a sentence of 30 to 35 years in prison.

David Headley was the key witness at the trial of Tahawwur Rana, who was sentenced last week by a US court to 14 years in jail followed by five years of supervised release.

Rana was convicted of aiding a plot to strike a Danish newspaper and of providing material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani terror organization that planned the Mumbai attacks.

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