9/11 anniversary: Top 10 terrorists with Colorado connections

The 9/11 events being memorialized on Sunday, ten years after they shook the world, didn't take place in Colorado. But our state has no shortage of connections to terrorists -- and not only because plenty of them are housed at Florence's Supermax facility.

Below, we look at the most prominent ten, including some who failed to take lives, and others who succeeded all too well.

10. Zacarias Moussaoui. Often referred to as the twentieth hijacker, Moussaoui was accused of having been a replacement for any of the nineteen participants in the 9/11 attacks who could not fulfill their lethal duties. The French citizen was convicted of conspiracy, sentenced to life without parole, and sent to Supermax. 9. Jamie Paulin Ramirez. Nicknamed "Jihad Jamie," Paulin Ramirez pleaded guilty earlier this year to providing material support to terrorists. She'd been recruited over the Internet, then headed to Ireland, where she married a suspected terrorist after her own heart. Potential sentence for the onetime Leadville resident: fifteen years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 8. Richard Reid. Known as the "Shoe Bomber," Reid pleaded guilty to terrorism in 2002 following his attempt in December 2001 to set off a bomb hidden in his boots while on a flight from Paris to Miami. Fortunately, the explosives didn't detonate. Today, Reid is another Supermax resident, having been sentenced to life without parole. 7. Eugene Tafoya. In 1980, Faisal Zagallai, an outspoken critic of Moammar Gadhafi studying at Colorado State University, was shot by Eugene Tafoya, an ex-Green Beret member reportedly working on behalf of Gadhafi forces. Tafoya was charged with attempted murder and conspiracy, but was ultimately found guilty of a lesser charge, assault. The verdict would likely have been heavier if the crime took place now. 6. Najibullah Zazi. A former airport shuttle driver living in Denver, Zazi was indicted in September 2009 in a terror plot targeting the New York City subway. Among the allegations: He purchased equipment for explosives at three local beauty supply stores. This summer, his father was convicted of covering up the plot. 5. Ted Kaczynski. For twenty years, Kaczynski spread terror via mail bombs that killed three people and injured 24 others, allegedly to advance his personal philosophy, which championed natural living over the techno-happy modern world. He's expected to spend the rest of his life at Supermax. 4. Terry Nichols Nichols was convicted in Denver of conspiring in the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, which left 168 people dead -- nineteen of them children. He was subsequently sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole and sent to Supermax, where he filled his time in part by griping about the food served there. His complaints were dismissed in August 2010. 3. Ramzi Yousef. In 1993, over eight years before 9/11, Yousef masterminded a bombing at New York's World Trade Center that killed six people and injured many others -- a terrible toll, but not as spectacular an attack as Yousef had hoped. He wanted the bomb to cause the entire building to collapse. He is now permanently ensconced at Supermax. 2. Mohamed Rashed al-Owhali. A onetime member of al-Qaeda, Al-Owhali is the most prominent of four terrorists convicted of executing the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in several African cities. The death toll ran into the hundreds. He's among the prisoners at Supermax with the most blood on his hands. 1. Timothy McVeigh. The driving force behind the Oklahoma City bombing, McVeigh was tried and convicted in Denver. Last year, on the fifteenth anniversary of the tragedy, and years after McVeigh's execution, MSNBC aired recordings he'd made after his arrest. Among his comments: "I'll use the phrase, and it sounds cold, but I'm sorry, I'm going to use it, because it's the truth: Get over it." Not gonna happen.

More from our News archive: "9/11 ten years later: What would big stories in Denver have been if the world hadn't changed?"

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts