Georgia Man Pleads Guilty to Seeking to Join Islamic State

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -

A 37-year-old Georgia salesman pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges that he supported terrorists, saying he bought a one-way ticket overseas to join the Islamic State group.

Leon Nathan Davis of Augusta told a U.S. District court judge he planned last fall to fly to Istanbul, Turkey, where he said, “I was to be smuggled into Syria and at that point in time join ISIS.”

A stocky, pale man with a shaved head, Davis answered with a pronounced Southern accent when the judge asked if he understood the U.S. considers the Islamic State to be a terrorist organization: “Yes, sir, I did.”

Davis is among several dozen people charged in the last year with trying to fight alongside the Islamic State and other terrorists or with lending them material support. Federal charges against him were filed Wednesday just before his plea hearing.

Judge J. Randall Hall, who will sentence Davis at a later date, did not ask about his motivations for seeking to join Islamic terrorists. Prosecutors and Davis’s defense attorney declined to discuss the case further after his plea hearing.

Charging documents filed with the court say Davis is also known by the names Abdul Wakil Khalil and Abu Hurairah Al Amreekee. Georgia Department of Corrections records show he was imprisoned in October 2005 after being sentenced to 10 years for contraband trafficking. He was released in September 2008, but returned to prison for more than a year starting in February 2012.