A North Iowa teenager has pleaded guilty to gang and terrorism charges involving threats toward locations in Mason City, but officials remain silent on more details about the case.
Justin Carter Gilmore, 16, will be sentenced on Nov. 4 on felony charges of providing support for terrorism, conspiracy to commit a non-forcible felony, criminal gang participation and gang recruitment.
As part of a plea agreement, the state is recommending suspended prison sentences and probation on each count.
The charges were waived from juvenile to adult court in March.
During Gilmore's plea hearing on Monday in Cerro Gordo County District Court, the 16-year-old admitted to sharing photographs and information, as well as saving money to aid in terrorism in November 2018.
He also admitted to being part of a street gang of at least three people that could be identified by a sign or symbol.
No further details were brought up during the hearing.
Assistant Cerro Gordo County Attorney Andrew Olson told the Globe Gazette after the hearing that he could not share more specific details, including the locations that were threatened, how they were threatened or whether others have been charged in the case.
"There are just some sensitivities in the case," he said.
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The trial information filed in March only gives general details referencing crimes committed in November 2018.
“We believed there was a credible threat towards specific locations in Mason City that met the definition in state code for the charges you are referencing here,” Mason City Police Chief Jeff Brinkley said in an email to the Globe last April in reference to the case.
Brinkley said the investigation began on Nov. 7 and the department made first contact with Gilmore on Nov. 8.
“The investigation continued into the weeks that followed,” he said.
According to court documents, Gilmore allegedly participated in or was a member of a “criminal street gang and did willfully aid and abet any criminal act committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with any criminal street gang.”
Gilmore also provided “material support or resources to a person who commits or attempts to commit terrorism," according to court documents.
Iowa Code defines “material support or resources” as “knowingly assisting or providing money, financial securities, financial services, lodging, training, safe houses, false documentation or identification, communication equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel, transportation, and other physical assets, except medicine or religious materials, for the purposes of assisting a person in the commission of an act of terrorism.”
Iowa Code defines “terrorism” as “an act intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, or to influence the policy of a unit of government by intimidation or coercion, or to affect the conduct of a unit of government, by shooting, throwing, launching, discharging, or otherwise using a dangerous weapon at, into, or in a building, vehicle, airplane, railroad engine, railroad car, or boat, occupied by another person, or within an assembly of people. The terms ‘intimidate’, ‘coerce’, ‘intimidation’, and ‘coercion’, as used in this definition, are not to be construed to prohibit picketing, public demonstrations, and similar forms of expressing ideas or views regarding legitimate matters of public interest protected by the United States and Iowa Constitutions.”
The total maximum penalty for the crimes to which Gilmore pleaded guilty is 30 years in prison.