St. Kate's Arson Suspect Pleads Not Guilty in Ramsey County

April 11, 2018 04:44 PM

The video above aired on Feb. 12, 2018, when Hassan appeared in court.


A former St. Catherine University student charged in Ramsey County with arson after she was alleged to have set fire to multiple campus buildings in January has pleaded not guilty.

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Tnuza Hassan, 20 of Minneapolis, entered the plea to one count of first-degree arson Wednesday. She now has a pre-trial hearing set for June 6.

Hassan also faces federal terrorism charges in connection to the investigation into the Jan. 17 incident.

RELATED: St. Kate's to Seek External Assessment of Safety Procedures after Arson Case

Hassan is alleged to have set approximately nine fires in multiple buildings on the campus of the school, including one that housed a day care center in which 33 children and eight adults were present.

The FBI began investigating Hassan after becoming aware of comments she was alleged to have made to Ramsey County investigators as documented in a criminal complaint.

She was indicted in February on three counts, including attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

A document filed in support of the indictments in February points to evidence that Hassan tried to travel to Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sept. 19 of last year to join al-Qaida and the "'Islamic Resistance,' which she defined as (al-Qaida) and the Taliban." 

The memo says Hassan reached Dubai in that effort, but was prevented from traveling further because she lacked a visa. 

RELATED: Woman Accused in St. Kate's Arson Tried to Leave US to Join Terrorist Groups, Court Filing Says

Prior to that, the document alleges, she attempted to recruit two female classmates to join al-Qaida or other organizations. She initially denied, but later admitted, to authoring a recruitment letter in March 2017. 

Hassan was an English major, but is not currently enrolled at St. Catherine or employed. 

The document says she again tried to leave the country on Dec. 29, 2017, on a ticket to Ethiopia with her mother, though authorities prevented her from boarding the flight and her mother chose not to go.

RELATED: Terror Suspect Hassan Pleads Not Guilty, Remanded to Jail

After she was arrested in connection to the St. Catherine fires, Hassan admitted to authorities she set the fires in an act of jihad "in retaliation for the alleged misconduct of U.S. military forces in Muslim lands," according to the document. She admitted she hoped her actions would kill innocent people, the document says.

Credits

Michael Oakes

Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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