PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A judge denied the defense’s request to allow the suspect facing federal terrorism charges for allegedly plotting to bomb a Pittsburgh church to return home to his family.
On Friday, a judge denied the defense’s request to allow Mustafa Alowemer to return home to his family until his alleged terror plot trial.
Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy agreed with Prosecutor Soo Song, who said Alowemer had a “lethal and toxic” animus towards other Muslims, Christians and Jewish people, “creating a danger that the community should not be made to bare.”
The 21-year-old from Syria will remain in federal custody to await trial.
Alowemer, a graduate of Brashear High, is accused of planning to bomb the Legacy International Worship Center on the North Side.
WATCH: Alowemer’s friends, family and supporters try to attack reporters
Investigators said an undercover agent reported that Alowemer told him he was going to set off a backpack full of explosives on the side of the church.
During the hearing, FBI Agent Gary Morgan detailed Alowemer’s alleged plans to blow up the Nigerian-Christian church as an act of allegiance with ISIS.
And prosecutors played a video in which a mask-covered Alowemer said he was longing to die a martyr’s death.
The agent testified Alowemer planned two bombs: one to blow up the church and another to be detonated later to kill “infidel police.”
Alowemer was arraigned on federal terrorism charges last month. He pleaded not guilty and requested a trial by jury.
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The friends, family and supporters of Alowemer were not happy after Friday’s detention hearing.
A handful of them blocked the media’s cameras, made obscene gestures and spit at one of KDKA’s photographers.
Their behavior aside, Alowemer sat in silence during his detention hearing and only smiled once when — his mother took the stand in his defense.
The government argued three points Friday: Alowemer is a flight risk and likely going to try to leave the country; he is a danger to others and wants to carry out violence on certain groups of people; he is on suicide watch and interested in dying for his religion.
Alowemer’s defense attorney argued that he should be allowed to go home and stay with his family.
He argued that his client would never have carried out an attack on his own, but instead was coached and influenced by undercover FBI agents who reached out first to him and acted as experts when it comes to ISIS and bomb-making.
“He was a high school student, going to school and living with his parents,” Public Defender Andrew Lipson said in court.
“If you’re saying he was a typical high school student, he wasn’t,” Morgan said in response to Lipson. “He was engaged in and planning a terrorist attack.”
WATCH: KDKA’s Andy Sheehan reports live from the courthouse.
On the stand, Alowemer’s mother said her son is peaceful and non-violent. She also promised to watch over him until trial, even going as far as saying she’ll sleep in the same bed as him.
Ultimately, the judge said she wasn’t aware of him meeting with undercover FBI agents for hours at a time and didn’t know about his alleged support of ISIS.