FORT HOOD, Texas (KXAN) - Pfc. Naser Abdo entered a plea of not guilty in a U.S. District Court Thursday and a trial date of Jan. 23 was set.
Abdo, 21, a Muslim soldier assigned to Fort Campbell, Ky., but absent without leave, allegedly had a plan to conduct an explosive attack at Fort Hood. His plan was never carried out because workers at a gun shop in Killeen became suspicious about Abdo's purchases and alerted law enforcement officials about Abdo.
Officials arrested Abdo on July 27 after a search of his hotel room in Killeen turned up weapons and explosives. The hotel is about three miles away from Fort Hood. At the time of his arrest, Abdo admitted to planning an attack on the Texas post, according to police. Officials said after Abdo's arrest, he kept making statements about his plan.
It is the same site where 13 people died in 2009 at the hands of accused shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the worst mass shooting ever on a U.S. military installation.
Abdo was charged by the Army in June with possessing child pornography, but after his initial hearing in the military justice system, he went AWOL.
Back in July, Chad Cheadle, the owner of Guns Galore, a Killeen gun shop, said that Abdo came into the store and bought shotgun shells, a shooting magazine and six pounds of smokeless gunpowder. He allegedly asked about smokeless gun powder after browsing for about 20 minutes. Cheadle and a co-worker, Greg Ebert, felt uncomfortable about the purchase and contacted police.
"(We) felt uncomfortable with his overall demeanor and the fact he didn't know what the hell he was buying," Ebert said. "I thought it prudent to contact the local authorities, which I did."
Another hearing is set for Dec. 21 in Waco. Abdo and his attorney have until Jan. 9 to submit any plea agreement that might be reached. If a plea deal is reached, then rearraignment is set for 1 p.m. on Jan. 12 in District Courtroom No. 1 in Waco. If there is no plea agreement, attorneys will work toward the Jan. 23 trial date, with jury selection starting at 9 a.m.
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