US Halifax mall plotter admired Columbine, doc reveals
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) — A prosecutor recommended Monday a sentence of 20 years for an American woman who pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit murder in a plot that envisioned her and two online friends pulling out their guns at a Canadian mall.
Lindsay Souvannarath of Geneva, Illinois, who attended the hearing, pleaded guilty last April for her role in the 2015 plot.
Court documents released say online conversations between Souvannarath, now 26, and a Canadian friend quickly devolved into a shared admiration for the Columbine killers, mass shootings and a murderous conspiracy to go on a Valentine’s Day shooting rampage at a Halifax mall.
Her lawyer said the sentence should be 12 to 14 years, with credit for time served.
Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Peter Rosinski reserved his decision until Friday.
Souvannarath’s co-conspirator, 19-year-old James Gamble, killed himself as police tried to arrest him at his Halifax-area home a day before the planned attack. Randall Steven Shepherd, a Halifax man described in court as the “cheerleader” of the shooting plot, was sentenced to a decade in prison in 2016.
The 1,205 pages of messages between Souvannarath and Gamble were obtained by the Kane County Court in Illinois, which ordered Facebook to produce the chat logs. During their lengthy online conversation, Souvannarath and Gamble discovered they both admired the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in Colorado in which teenagers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people and themselves.
Souvannarath confessed to the plot, a senior police official told The Associated Press in 2015. The senior police official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said that Souvannarath confessed after she was arrested at the Halifax airport and that she had prepared a number of pronouncements to be posted on Twitter after her death. Shepherd also was arrested at the airport as he waited for his friend’s arrival.
Police acted quickly after receiving information from the Crime Stoppers tip line.
The official said police worked with Canadian border officials to find the female suspect on her flight to Halifax from Chicago.
Both Souvannarath and Gamble were unemployed and lived with their parents.
Associated Press writer Rob Gillies in Toronto contributed to this report.