Family members of two of the four suspects accused of plotting to bomb a Muslim enclave say the teens have a form of autism called asperger's syndrome. It's raising legal questions about how it could impact proseuction.
Local defense attorney James Nobles says it will not be a factor in how Brian Colaneri and Andrew Crysel are prosecuted.
"There is no legal reduction in any type of criminal situation for your mental capacity. What the law requires in New York for mental capacity, the only out that you have is potentially a finding of not guilty by reason of mental defect," said Nobles.
He says the defense, however can through mitigation, ask the prosecution and the court for leniency based on the defendant's status on the spectrum.
"But the reality is, as crimes get very serious, like the case they're talking about here, it's much harder to excuse conduct based on mitigating circumstances because the potential harm was so great," said Nobles.
The case has caught the attention of a local support group known as AutismUp.
"People with aspergers syndrome do not have an intellectual diability or cognitive impairment," said Rachel Rosner, a mother of two children with autism and Director of Education and Support at AutisumUp.
Rosner says people should not jump to conclusions that may be incorrect about people with autism.
"Having a disability is not an excuse for bad behavior," said Rosner. "People tend to think about even young adults with disabilities as being children. These are legal adults who are responsible for their own choices, disabilities or not."
Rosner also says people with autism are more likely to be victims of crime and not perpetrators, and this case highlights the need to continue to eliminate the stereotypes and educate more people about autism.