TOPEKA, Kan. — A federal judge on Monday gave a man charged with plotting to bomb an Army installation in support of the Islamic State group more time to review the evidence against him.
U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia granted a request from John T. Booker Jr.'s public defender for an additional 30 days to review evidence gathered by prosecutors and recently turned over to his attorneys. The judge's decision postponed a trial that would have started in July under normal guidelines.
Murguia gave Booker's attorneys until July 29 to file legal motions and set another hearing for Aug. 19. The judge set the dates after Booker said he understood that the time in between wouldn't count in assessing whether he was getting a speedy trial, a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
"If we need more time, we need more time," Booker told the judge. "I'm not in any rush at all."
According to court documents, the 20-year-old Topeka resident was arrested in April while trying to arm what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb inside a van near Fort Riley, about an hour west of Topeka. Booker is charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempting to use an explosive device and attempt to provide material support to a terrorist group. If convicted, he could face life in prison.
Prosecutors have alleged that Booker told an FBI informant he wanted to kill Americans and engage in violent jihad on behalf of the Islamic State group. A Muslim cleric who counseled Booker at the FBI's request has said he suffers from bipolar disorder.
Booker entered the courtroom in Topeka wearing an orange jumpsuit, still chained at the ankles. He smiled multiple times during his hearing, answering questions with, "sure," ''yeah," and "I'm definitely OK with that." At one point, public defender Melody Evans quietly urged him to reply to the judge with, "Yes, sir."
Murguia appeared by video from a courtroom in Kansas City, Kansas.