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Dad: "no way" son could have planned Capitol attack

Ann Thompson
(center) John Cornell, father of Chris, says his son was dragged into this and "no way could have come up with this on his own."

Chris Cornell, a Green Township terrorist suspect, will continue to be held without bail in the Butler County Jail. Friday Magistrate Stephanie Bowman agreed with Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Mangan that he is a threat to the public and a flight risk.

Before the hearing, the suspect's father, John Cornell, told reporters there was "no way" his son could have come up with such a plan on his own.

The 20-year old was arrested Wednesday after buying two semi-automatic weapons and 600 rounds of ammunition. In a criminal complaint, the FBI said Cornell told an informant that “we should just wage jihad under our own orders and plan attacks and everything.”

The Justice Department says it has evidence Cornell was going to travel to Washington,D.C., conduct reconnaissance, and then execute a plan of attack on the U.S. Capitol.

As Cornell walked into the courtroom his dad almost got thrown out after repeatedly yelling things to his son. John Cornell said, “Don’t trust anyone.” And “We love you Chris.”

Before the hearing, the father said "I love my son and I've got his back 100 percent."

John Cornell said his son was coerced into this; and that he is being portrayed as "one of them,'' referring to terrorists.

In court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mangan said Cornell, also known as Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah, poses a threat to commit a terroristic plot and it was repeatedly and emphatically set forth in Cornell's plan.

While recognizing the seriousness of the charges, Assistant Federal Public Defender Karen Savir pointed out to the judge that Cornell is only 20 years old, never has been in serious trouble, doesn’t drink or use drugs and lives with his parents. She asked for her client to be released to his parents while under electronic supervision.The judge didn’t agree.

But Magistrate Bowman did say she would consider Savir's other requests including providing Cornell with a clock so he can observe the times he is supposed to pray and getting him out of suicide watch.

With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.