Suspect in shoe bombing case indicted
By Fran Fifis
BOSTON, Massachusetts (CNN) -- Richard Reid, whom Attorney General John Ashcroft referred to as "an al Qaeda-trained terrorist," was indicted Wednesday on charges related to his alleged attempt to set off a bomb in his shoe aboard an airliner.
Reid was charged with attempted murder, placing an explosives device on an airplane, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and other charges. If convicted of these crimes, Reid would face up to five life sentences, Ashcroft said at a Washington news conference.
Reid, 28, a British citizen of Jamaican heritage, had been held on a charge of interference with a flight crew following his December 22 arrest for allegedly packing his sneakers with explosives and trying to ignite one of them with a match aboard American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris to Miami, Florida. The plane was diverted to Boston, Massachusetts.
The nine-count indictment charges that Reid received terrorist training in the Afghanistan camps of al Qaeda, a network controlled by Osama bin Laden.
Reid was initially charged with interfering with a crew member on Flight 63. The indictment includes a second count of crew interference. The other charges are:
-- Attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction
-- Attempted homicide
-- Placing explosive devices on an aircraft
-- Attempted murder
-- Attempted destruction of an aircraft
-- Using a destructive device during and in relation to a crime of violence
-- Attempted wrecking of a mass transportation vehicle
Officials explained that the attempted homicide charge related to the attempted killing of one or more U.S. nationals outside the United States. The attempted murder charge related to the 197 passengers and crew members on the plane.
The incident on Flight 63 was thwarted when a flight attendant caught a man trying to ignite one of his sneakers and other crew members and passengers wrestled him to the plane's floor. The jetliner was escorted to Boston by F-16 fighters.
The bearded and gangly 6-foot-4 Reid was a convert to Islam who once attended the same South London mosque as Zacarias Moussaoui, the only suspected conspirator in the September 11 terror attacks who has been arrested and charged in that case.
Reid, whose divorced parents both live in Britain, is being held on a suicide watch in a detention facility near Boston. He is being represented by two public defenders.
--CNN National Correspondent Susan Candiotti contributed to this report
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