Indiana man inspired by Orlando massacre receives 15-year sentence for plotting terrorist attack

Marlonn Hicks

HAMMOND, Ind. — An Indiana man who pleaded guilty to distributing information about explosives in connection with terrorist groups has been sentenced.

Marlonn Hicks, 31, of Crown Point, Indiana, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for distributing information regarding the manufacture and use of explosives, with the intent that the information be used for and in furtherance of a crime of violence.

After his prison term, Hicks will serve three years of supervised release.

“The defendant plotted to conduct an attack on U.S. soil and, with today’s sentence, he is being held accountable for his actions,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers.

U.S. Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch says Hicks was inspired by the massacre in Orlando to try to commit a terror attack to kill innocent victims in the United States.

According to the documents in this case, Hicks rapidly transformed from a vocal online supporter of ISIS to someone planning a terrorist act.

Prosecutors alleged Hicks talked about carrying out an attack in the U.S. and said he wanted to travel to territory under control of the Islamic State.

On June 21, 2016, nine days after the Orlando Pulse massacre, Hicks discussed “getting busy” with an FBI source who he believed was an ISIS supporter. He sent this source two manuals on how to manufacture and use explosives and poisons and continued to discuss with this FBI source possible terror attacks.

Hicks made his motivation for the planned attacks clear, exclaiming that since the FBI and similar government personnel “have shut the door now [on his ability to travel to ISIS controlled territory and fight there] I’m gonna open the door to hell for them.”

As he began to develop an attack plan, in addition to sending the above referenced manuals, he discussed coordinating attacks to create “more of an audience.”

Hicks also discussed how to obtain firearms and practice with them. Hicks clearly communicated to multiple sources and during his post-arrest interview that he wanted everyone to know the attacks were carried out in the name of ISIS.

Hicks was arrested on federal charges without incident in July 2016 and has remained in federal custody since his arrest.

Before his sentencing, Hicks’ attorney read a statement by Hicks in which he claimed he is “not a menace to society,” adding he is “a big teddy bear that got emotional.”