A New Jersey teenager has confessed to plotting to murder Pope Francis.
According to ABC 6, Santos Colon, Jr., 17, of Lindenwold, New Jersey, pled guilty Monday in federal court to plotting to kill Pope Francis during his 2015 trip to Philadelphia.
Charged as an adult, Colon admitted his participation in a plot to use a sniper to shoot the Pope during a Mass he celebrated in September 2015 and setting off explosive devices nearby. He reportedly spent two months prior to the Pope’s visit plotting the murder, according to federal prosecutors.
The teen allegedly engaged a sniper to buy the materials to make the explosives, who was actually an undercover FBI employee. The would-be assassin was arrested after enlisting the undercover agent in the plot.
Colon pled guilty to a charge of attempting to provide material support to terrorists and faces up to 15 years in prison. A sentencing date has yet to be scheduled. In reporting on the court plea, prosecutors offered no comment on Colon’s motive and are continuing to investigate.
Yet in earlier reporting on the case, ABC News obtained an FBI and Department of Homeland Security bulletin which stated indicating the teen was inspired by ISIS, and cited the “aspirational” plot as one of several incidents that “demonstrate some youth are vulnerable to messaging from [ISIS] and its supporters.”
Santos’ lawyer, Richard Coughlin, did not respond to ABC 6’s request for comment.
Photo: Associated Press