James Gonzalo Medina, 41, pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction against the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center in South Florida. A federal judge ordered him to undergo mental treatment while serving his sentence.
A Hollywood, Fla., man who pleaded guilty to trying to blow up a South Florida synagogue suffers from such acute psychosis due to a cyst in his brain that he will be placed in a U.S. prison’s medical facility while serving at least 25 years, a federal judge in Miami ruled Tuesday. James Gonzalo Medina, 41, who was arrested last year on a charge of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction against the Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center, will be treated and then likely placed in a general prison population, reports the Miami Herald. “This is a very, very serious offense,” Scola said, noting that without the FBI’s “intervention,” many Jewish people at the synagogue could have died as a result of Medina’s bomb threat.
The actual bomb — sold to Medina in Hallandale Beach by an FBI undercover operative just before the planned terror attack — was a dummy, authorities said. During Tuesday’s hearing, Medina, who has a previous criminal history, urged the judge to place him in a U.S. prison’s medical facility so neurological experts can evaluate and treat his brain condition. “I just need help,” Medina said. Medina said he became a Muslim and lost his wife and children before he carried out the bomb plot. “I lost my mind,” he said. “I lashed out.” During an earlier plea hearing in Miami, Medina seemed reluctant to accept responsibility for the planned synagogue terror attack, suggesting he was “manipulated” by a federal confidential informant and an FBI undercover employee. But when questioned repeatedly by Scola, Medina admitted he was guilty of plotting the bombing to kill innocent Jewish people.