New York, Oct 5 (EFE).- Frank James, the shooter who injured ten commuters in the New York subway in April 2022, was convicted on Thursday to ten life sentences and ten additional years after pleading guilty to ten terrorism charges in January.
The punishment was announced at a press conference following a sentencing hearing for the 64-year-old man, who detonated two smoke bombs inside a subway car that was waiting to enter a station and fired 32 shots indiscriminately at those riding during the morning rush hour.
The attack caused no deaths but the victims continue to live with long-term injuries and emotional damage.
The US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Breon Peace, said that James had been made “accountable” after his attack and the city-wide panick caused by the 24-hour manhunt that followed.
“Today’s life sentence delivered the necessary penalty for Frank James, who callously carried out a mass shooting on a crowded subway car, attempting to kill innocent people, and spilling much blood. He wounded 10 victims in his calculated attack and terrorized many more,” said Peace.
The ten life sentences James received, one for each victim plus 10 years for use of a weapon in a crime of violence, sought by the prosecution, were considerably higher than the 18 years requested by his defense.
The defense had argued for leniency because there were no deaths and because James suffers from debilitating mental illness.
“I hope that this sentence brings some closure to the many victims of this violent attack and comfort to the city at large in knowing that justice was done,” sadi the District Attorney.
During the closed-door hearing, some victims were present and were able to address James, who had previously refused to attend hearings until the judge ordered bailiffs to “use all necessary force” to make him appear, according to the New York Times.
On this occasion, James spoke, acknowledging the shooting as “a cowardly act of senseless violence,” but attempting to justify it as a way of “shining the light on certain conditions in the city where i was raised,” refering to discrimination and prejudice he suffers as a poor black man with mental illness.
“Yes, we have issues with guns and mental illness and racism, but only one man took it upon himself to get on that subway car,” Judge William Kuntz scolded him, according to the Times.
The attack, which took place on a subway line running through the Brooklyn borough, was the most serious recorded on the city’s transport system in many years and spread fear across the city as the perpetrator fled the scene by slipping away amid the crowd.
According to prosecutors, the defendant had been planning the attack since 2017, when he began purchasing weapons and the disguise he used to pose as a subway worker, complete with an orange reflective jacket and yellow hard hat.EFE