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Former Army Infantryman Accused in Southern California Terror Plot Pleads Not Guilty

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Former Army Infantryman Accused in Southern California Terror Plot Pleads Not GuiltyFBI
Mark Steven Domingo is pictured in this photo provided by the FBI.

A man from Reseda accused of plotting bomb and gun attacks around Southern California appeared in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom Friday and denied that he committed two terrorism crimes.

Mark Steven Domingo, 26, said, “not guilty,” when he was asked how he pleads to the charges during a brief appearance at the Roybal Federal Building, a week after he was indicted on charges of providing material support to terrorists and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. If convicted he could face a sentence of life in prison.

Domingo was arrested last month after the FBI said he began assembling components needed to bomb a rally in Long Beach and accepted delivery of items he believed to be improvised explosive devices. The devices were lookalikes provided by an undercover informant working with the FBI. 

During recorded conversations that took place online and in person, Domingo allegedly discussed his desire to retaliate for attacks against Muslims around the world, including the mass shootings at mosques in New Zealand in March.

Southern California Terrorism Plot Foiled

[LA] Southern California Terrorism Plot Foiled

"There were mosque shootings in New Zealand," Domingo posted to a private group online on March 14, according to federal prosecutors. "[T]here must be retribution."

Domingo allegedly added: "I feel like I should make a christians life miserable tomorrow for our fallen bros n sis in [N]ew Zealand ... maybe a jews life ... they shed our blood ... no Muslim should have to experience this, a message needs to be sent."

According to court documents and prosecutors, Domingo fantasized about murdering a variety of perceived enemies, including Christians, Jews, white supremacists, police officers, and even his next-door neighbor. But he struggled to pinpoint a target or develop a plan. Asked if he was intending to get caught, Domingo offered an oddly casual response. 

"Martyrdom, bro," Domingo said, according to the indictment.

The former U.S. Army infantryman, who completed a four-month deployment to Afghanistan in January 2013, became obsessed with the idea of getting his hands on an improvised explosive device after the FBI informant said he knew someone who used to make them.

"We'll both make it. I just don't know how," Domingo said in one conversation, according to the indictment. "I'll be honest. I'm smart in history but I failed chemistry. Science is not my forte ... If he doesn't want to make it, don't force him. But ask him how. Details ... F-----g to the letter details. Ask him." 

Domingo was arrested after he made preparations to attack a "white nationalist rally" in Huntington Beach on April 27. He was charged with providing and attempting to provide material support to terrorists. The indictment was unsealed roughly six weeks after a gunman opened fire at two mosques in the city of Christchurch, killing 50 people.