Federal prosecutors want life in prison for subway gunman Frank James

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Thursday, September 21, 2023
Subway gunman deserves life in prison, prosecutors say
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Brooklyn subway shooter Frank James deserves life in prison when he is sentenced later this month, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn said Wednesday.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Frank James, who set off smoke bombs, fired a barrage and injured 10 people aboard a Manhattan-bound subway train in an April 2022 rush-hour attack, deserves life in prison when he is sentenced later this month, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn said Wednesday.

The proposed sentence is in excess of federal sentencing guidelines.

James, who pleaded guilty, deserves the harshest punishment possible because of "the careful and prolonged planning that went into the defendant's mass shooting and the serious harm he inflicted on his victims and the community," prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

Frank James didn't have a plea agreement, and prosecutors are seeking to put him in prison for decades. NJ Burkett has the story.

James is scheduled to be sentenced September 28. He has asked for no more than 18 years in prison.

"Mr. James is not evil. He is very, very ill," wrote defense attorney Mia Eisner-Grynberg in her own sentencing memo, citing his "untreated, severe mental illness."

James set off smoke bombs on a crowded N train, sending passengers to one end of the subway car.

Once all the passengers were packed together at the far end of the subway car, James began firing his semi-automatic Glock 17 pistol at his victims.

"When the defendant started shooting, the train was between stations and then temporarily stalled, leaving victims trapped, with nowhere to run or hide," prosecutors said. "It was only because the defendant's gun eventually jammed that the defendant stopped shooting, despite having two additional fully-loaded extended magazines capable of firing an additional 36 bullets."

Prosecutors included a photograph of the trajectory of the gunfire as well as the blood-stained train car after passengers evacuated.


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