David Coleman Headley gets 35-year sentence for role in Mumbai terror attack


In this courtroom drawing, David Coleman Headley faces US District Court Judge Harry Leinenweber on March 18, 2010 in Chicago. Headley pleaded guilty to using his Western appearance as a cover while scoping out sites for the deadly 2008 Mumbai siege and plotting to kill a Danish cartoonist.


Carol Renaud

David Coleman Headley, an American from Chicago, has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for his role in the planning of the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008. 

Headley plead guilty on 12 counts, which included conspiracy to aid militants who belonged to the Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba, in order to avoid the death penalty or extradition to India, according to BBC News

He was arrested in October 2009 while trying to board a plane to Philadelphia from Chicago by FBI agents, BBC reported.

The 52-year-old's cooperation with prosecutors led Judge Harry Leinenweber to also spare him a life sentence, and also said that while Headley "deserved" a death sentence, a government motion led to the 35-year decision.

"Mr. Headley is a terrorist," Judge Leinenweber said, according to the Wall Street Journal. "The easy thing for me to do would be to impose the death penalty, because that's what he deserves. 

"The sentence I impose, I'm hopeful it will keep Mr. Headley under lock and key for the rest of his natural life," Judge Leinenweber added, according to Agence France Presse.

The three-day massacre in Mumbai left at least 160 people dead, as gunmen launched assaults on multiple targets, including the Taj Mahal Hotel, the Associated Press reported.  

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