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Colorado Woman, 19, Pleads Guilty to Trying to Help Islamic State

DENVER — A 19-year-old woman who federal authorities say intended to wage jihad despite their repeated attempts to stop her pleaded guilty Wednesday to trying to help the Islamic State militant group in Syria under a plea deal that requires her to help authorities who are investigating others with the same intentions. Shannon Conley, appearing in a striped jail jumpsuit and a brown and black headscarf, entered her plea to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. She could face up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

The agreement says she must cooperate with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies and provide information about people in Colorado and elsewhere looking to help terrorists abroad. If she cooperates, prosecutors promised to ask a judge to reduce her sentence. After the hearing, Conley's public defender, Robert Pepin, said that she has been horrified by the atrocities committed by the Islamic State group and offered her condolences to those who have been caught up in its "slaughter and oppression."

"The fact that she was arrested may very well have saved her life," he said of Conley. Conley was arrested in April while trying to board a flight at Denver International Airport on her way to Syria, authorities said.

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— The Associated Press