Mom of Colorado teen accused of trying to join Islamic State blames FBI ‘encouragement’
Jul 20, 2023, 2:59 PM | Updated: Jul 31, 2023, 11:54 am
DENVER (AP) — The mother of an 18-year-old who is accused of trying to become a fighter for the Islamic State group says her son has never had the motivation to follow through with things.
Deanna Meyer testified Thursday that she does not think her son, Davin Meyer, would have taken action to travel to the Middle East were it not for the support of people he recently met who shared his views. That included FBI informants posing as Islamic State facilitators.
“I bet my life he would never do that without that encouragement,” Deanna Meyer said in federal court in an unsuccessful attempt to convince a judge to allow her son to stay with her while he is being prosecuted. He was arrested Friday as he tried to board a plane to Turkey and has been charged with attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.
Deanna Meyer was responding to a question from Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neureiter about whether her son, who has autism, understood the gravity of the situation, given his condition.
She reached out to law enforcement last year about Davin when he was 17 because she was concerned about the escalation of his “radical Islamic beliefs” and openly expressing violent intentions, according to court documents. The FBI was later notified, it said.
While authorities said Davin Meyer had threatened to kill his mother, she told Magistrate Judge N. Reid Neureiter that he had stopped making threats in September, about two months before he turned 18.
Partly because of the previous threats, Neureiter said he could not allow him to live with her, ordering him instead to remain in custody.
“It’s not a risk I’m prepared to take,” Neureiter said.
Soon after Meyer turned 18, he began communicating online with the first paid informant, whom he believed was an Islamic State facilitator, his arrest affidavit said. Later that informant introduced Meyer to a second informant, who presented themselves as an ISIS travel facilitator, it said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Hindman argued that Davin Meyer was committed to radical Islam by the time he started talking to them and was determined to become a fighter for the Islamic State. She said he had done his own research on his plan and kept up with news about the Islamic State, including knowing when one leader of the group was killed and knowing that he needed to then declare his allegiance to the new leader. While expressing some anxiety about going ahead with his plan, he did anyway, she said.
“He tried to board the plane thinking ISIS would be greeting him with open arms on the other end,” Hindman said.
She said Meyer also communicated with others besides the informants — a man in the United Kingdom who supports ISIS who had been previously convicted and sentenced and then recently rearrested for supporting terrorism but did not identify him.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment on his identity.
This story was first published on July 20, 2023. It was updated on July 31, 2023, to correct the first name of a Colorado man accused of trying to become a fighter for the Islamic State group. He is Davin Meyer, not Devin Meyer.