A man who said he was trying to start a “jihad” has pleaded guilty to murder and terrorism – before surprising the court by suddenly confessing to killing three other people.
Ali Muhammad Brown, 34, admitted to murdering 19-year-old Brendan Tevlin of New Jersey during jury selection.
Then, without encouragement, he confessed to killing three men on the other side of the country, in Washington – two of them because he believed they were gay.
He had been charged after three deaths in the Seattle area, according to NBC News.
One man was shot dead in April 2014, while two others were gunned down outside a nightclub two months later.
Prosecutors have said that Brown confessed to killing the two men in June 2014 “because he believed they were homosexual.”
The killings, prosecutors said, showed “an extreme level of violence.”
If Brown were to be convicted of these killings, he could be given the death penalty.
The prosecutor’s office said: “In his statement to the court today Brown admitted that the killings were a part of what he described as a ‘jihad.’”
Brown, who is already serving 35 years in prison for armed robbery, will be sentenced on May 1.He faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
Jamel Semper, who led the prosecution in New Jersey, said Brown “grievously harmed families and terrorised entire communities across the country.
“This defendant is no martyr.
“He’s just an admitted terrorist who will now spend the rest of his life in prison.”
Prosecutors said Brown made the confession in full knowledge that it would not get him a reduced sentence.
Acting County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino said: “We did not negotiate with this defendant.
“From the beginning, our position has been that he had to plead to all the charges or we would go to trial and let the jury decide.”
As well as admitting to the four killings, Brown pleaded guilty to first-degree terrorism, first-degree carjacking, first-degree robbery, unlawful possession of a handgun and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
In 2005, Brown was convicted in federal court in Washington of conspiracy to commit bank fraud in connection with a plot which targeted several banks from 2002 to 2004.
The year before that, Brown was one of at least 13 people living in Washington who were accused of pursuing the fraud scheme as part of a plot to illegally move people into the US from Gambia.