Former Mississippi State student who planned to join ISIS sentenced to 12 years

by: Greg Coy Updated:

A Mississippi woman was sentenced to 12 years in prison today for attempting to join ISIS last August.  

Jaelyn Young and her common law husband both arrested at an airport in Columbus MS as they were tried to leave the country for Syria and join the terrorist group.

20-year-old Jaelyn Young told the judge “I am so ashamed. I am really sorry” for attempting to join ISIS.  

Prosecutors demanded the maximum sentence because she betrayed her family and country in the most profound way. 

Jaelyn Young’s father would not answer questions about his daughter’s sentence but in court he tried to tell the judge he was to blame for his daughter’s treasonous crime of attempting to join ISIS and convincing her common law husband Muhammad Dahklallah to join her. 

The Vicksburg Police Officer and Navy Reservist told the judge because he was not at home during his multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, his oldest daughter was vulnerable to ISIS online propaganda.

Federal Prosecutor Cay Joyner presented another side of the 20-year-old former Mississippi State University Student.  Joyner Young was the self-radicalized instigator, the planner and even wrote letters in prison to Dakhlalah in prison telling him to lie to the grand jury. 

“We will do and say whatever we need to get out of this” she wrote in letters obtained by the government.  Young told him not to accept a plea bargain which eventually both of them did.

>>August sentencing for couple who planned to join Islamic State

Defense Attorney Dennis Sweet tried to convince the judge through family testimony and a mental health exam that Young was depressed, isolated, overwhelmed at college, but family pressure kept her at school. 

Young’s mother said she feared that someone would take advantage of her daughter, an indirect reference to Young being introduced to Islam by her co-defendant Dahklallah.

Young told the judge she was so ashamed for trying to join ISIS. 

“I wasn’t myself.  I did things without thinking I know what I did was wrong.  This feels so surreal,” Young said.

After hearing her testimony, the Judge told Young “you are remorseful.  It’s your fault.  You did it.” Then sentenced her to 12 years in prison, along with drug and mental health treatment.  

>>The anatomy of an ISIS supporter

FOX13 will have updates as soon as they are available and will have a complete wrap of what happened in court on FOX13 News at 5. 

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