The man who bought two rifles that husband-and-wife assailants used to kill 14 people in a 2015 terror attack in San Bernardino, California, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
His defense claimed childhood abuse and emotional manipulation by the terrorist Syed Farook, and asked for 5 years.
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — The man who bought two rifles that husband-and-wife assailants used to kill 14 people in a Southern California terror attack nearly five years ago was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison.
Enrique Marquez Jr. supplied the weapons that Syed Rizwan Farook and Farook’s wife, Tashfeen Malik, used on Dec. 2, 2015, to open fire on a meeting and holiday gathering of San Bernardino County employees who worked with Farook. Minutes later, a post on a Facebook page associated with Malik pledged allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State terror group. The couple fled and died later that day in a gunbattle with authorities.
Marquez, 28, showed no emotion during a federal court hearing as relatives of the victims asked the judge to give him a lengthy sentence for providing Farook the guns years before the shooting, which at the time was the deadliest terror attack in the United States since 9/11.
Gregory Clayborn, whose daughter Sierra was killed, said Marquez should be held responsible for the massacre though he wasn’t the gunman.
“He’s a terrorist, your honor,” Clayborn told the judge. “And if you let him out, he’s going to do it again.”
Prosecutors sought a 25-year sentence for Marquez, arguing that he gave semiautomatic weapons and explosives to Farook though he knew Farook was inspired by violent extremists and had plotted with him years earlier to kill large numbers of people in attacks on a highway and college campus.
At the hearing, federal prosecutor Melanie Sartoris said Marquez has a high IQ and the mental capacity to understand the likelihood of an attack once he had bought the weapons.
“He knew all along that this would happen,” but he did nothing, she said.
The defense had asked for a five-year term. Marquez’s attorney, John Aquilina, said his client had been manipulated by Farook since he was 13, when they met as neighbors.
Marquez was desperate to socialize with others and needed to escape abuse at home. He had stopped speaking to Farook years before the attack and didn’t know it was going to happen, Aquilina said.