Judge in Texas rules terror bomb suspect competent

Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari (AP Photo - Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Zach Long)
Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari (AP Photo - Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Zach Long)
By BETSY BLANEY Associated Press

A Saudi man accused of trying to make a weapon of mass destruction and targeting former President George W. Bush's home in Dallas is mentally competent to stand trial, a federal judge in Texas ruled Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Sam Cummings issued his ruling in Lubbock after prosecutors in the case against Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari submitted a report from his psychiatric evaluation.

His defense offered no argument but asked that the report be sealed. Cummings ordered it sealed.

Aldawsari's trial is scheduled to begin April 30 in Lubbock.

Court documents allege the U.S. college student, who was legally in the country, had been planning to attack various sites including in New York City and the former president's home.

Aldawsari, 21, has pleaded not guilty. His attorney says he plans to use an insanity defense.

The Justice Department said Aldawsari, who studied chemical engineering, bought explosive chemicals online as part of a plan to create bomb materials. A North Carolina chemical company reported suspicious purchases by Aldawsari to the FBI.

According to court documents, Aldawsari listed 12 reservoir dams in Colorado and California in emails he apparently sent to himself. He also wrote an email that mentioned "Tyrant's House" with the address of Bush's home. An FBI affidavit said Aldawsari considered using infant dolls and baby carriages to hide explosives and was possibly targeting a nightclub with a backpack filled with explosives.

Aldawsari entered the U.S. in October 2008 from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to study chemical engineering at Texas Tech University. He transferred to nearby South Plains College, where he was studying business. A Saudi industrial company, which was not identified in court documents, was paying his tuition and living expenses in the U.S.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp., a Riyadh-based company was paying Aldawsari a monthly stipend and covered his housing, food, tuition and health care costs, the Amarillo Globe-News reported shortly after the young man's arrest.

Aldawsari also studied at an English language center at Vanderbilt University.