On eve of court appearance, a look at the terrorism charges in Woodfield Mall incident

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SCHAUMBURG, Ill. –   On Sunday, Javier Garcia, 22, was charged with felony terrorism and accused of smashing a black SUV through Woodfield Mall on September 20.

Police said they believe Garcia was not targeting any specific person or business. No major injuries were reported after the chaotic scene.

Garcia’s attorney said he is a mental health patient with no criminal history and the charges are “aggressive.”

No motive has been disclosed.

Joe Roddy was a Cook County prosecutor for more than 10 years. He said the terrorism charges are unusual and are more common on the federal level.

But back in 2002, a little known state-level terrorism law was passed in 27 states. It was a reaction to the Sept 11th attacks.

Illinois was among them defining terrorism as any act intended to intimidate or coerce the civilian population.

It is a serious charge with serious consequences. If Garcia is found guilty he could get anywhere from 20 years to life in prison.

Garcia is due back in court Tuesday.

WGN’s Julie Unruh has more.

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