Subway shooter Frank James gets 10 life sentences, one for each victim, in 2022 attack

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Thursday, October 5, 2023
Subway shooter Frank James gets 10 life sentences, one for each victim
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Frank James, the man who fired shots and set off smoke bombs in a Brooklyn subway in 2022, was sentenced Thursday. NJ Burkett has the latest.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Frank James, the man who unleashed terror on a Brooklyn subway in April of 2022, was sentenced Thursday to 10 life sentences -- one for each of his victims -- and another 10 years on a gun charge.

James had no reaction upon sentencing.

"I alone am responsible for that attack, it had nothing to do with race, creed, color or sexual orientation," he said. "They in no way deserved to have what happened to them."

He said he was "shining the light on certain conditions in the city where i was raised," referring to the city's health care crisis.

"It doesn't give you an excuse, because you have mental health issues, to take out your pain and inflict it on other people," one of the victims said in court.

Defense attorneys said James did not receive the treatment he needed in the city. They described James as a paranoid schizophrenic who was unable to find adequate treatment for much of his life.

"Perfect justice would require a power that neither this judge nor any other judge has in his or her hands to impose," Judge William Kuntz II said.

April 12, 2022 is a day many New Yorkers remember well. James set off smoke bombs and opened fire on the subway last year, injuring 10 people.

James pled guilty to federal terrorism charges earlier this year.

As part of the government's sentencing letter, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District released photos of that Manhattan-bound N train.

Images captured the sheer panic of passengers fleeing the smoky train, screaming for help and many bleeding.

James was able to flee the station that day and a manhunt ensued. James was identified as the suspect and was apprehended the next day in the East Village after he called to turn himself in.

The event led to panic over subway safety. New York City officials added more surveillance cameras and police underground following the attack.

Prosecutors say James carefully planned this shooting to inflict maximum damage. They sought the life sentence due to pieces of evidence surrounding the attack, such as Google searches and erratic videos posted online.

James' attorneys had requested a reduced sentence of 18 years, citing the lack of fatalities, and claiming he suffers from serious mental illness.

"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," stated United States Attorney Breon Peace. "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."

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Brian Dowling was taken into custody, sources said. Surveillance video shows the moment the victim was stabbed in Brooklyn. Kemberly Richardson reports.


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