'Chelsea Bomber' Ahmad Rahimi sentenced to multiple life terms

Ahmad Khan Rahimi, center, is led into court in Elizabeth, N.J. on December 20.

A man who set off small bombs on a New York City street and at a charity race in New Jersey has been sentenced to multiple terms of life in prison.

Ahmad Khan Rahimi, a naturalized USA citizen born in Afghanistan, was convicted in October in connection to an explosive device that detonated in a dumpster in New York City's Chelsea neighborhood, injuring 30, as well as another bomb placed nearby that did not detonate.

Rahimi, a Muslim who federal prosecutors say attempted to radicalize other jail inmates while awaiting sentencing, also was ordered to pay about $563,000 to victims.

He moved to the United States in 1995 with his family and became a naturalized citizen in 2011.

"It's inexplicable that anyone would do that intentionally", he said.

"I have been here for more than 20 years, I had American friends and Muslim friends", he said.

Federal prosecutors said in court papers that Rahimi has not shown remorse and tried to radicalize fellow prisoners at the federal jail in NY where he has been imprisoned since his arrest.

Rahimi's father contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the months leading up to the attack, warning them about his son's militant sympathies.

Jurors took less than four hours to convict Rahimi on eight counts, including using a weapon of mass destruction and bombing a public place, following a two-week trial.

The first explosion, on September 17, occurred along the route of a charity 5K race in Seaside Park, New Jersey.

"We saw videos", he said, referencing multiple videos at his fall trial that showed Rahimi dragging bombs in two suitcases and a backpack through Manhattan streets, setting one down a half hour before it exploded in the upscale Chelsea neighborhood and another a few blocks away that was discovered and disabled before it could explode.

During the trial, the prosecution presented evidence - including DNA and fingerprints - linking Rahimi to the bombs that were placed in New Jersey and NY.

"One thing a life sentence does is to make sure you don't do it again", Berman said. Rahimi and two police officers were wounded in the shootout.

Rahimi used household goods to create a bomb packed into a pressure cooker and wired to a flip-phone detonator, which he placed on the busy NY street on September 17, 2016. The bomb left along the Seaside Park boardwalk was a pipe bomb stuffed in a trash can; the NY bombs were "pressure cooker" style devices.

  • Jon Douglas