A Chicago-area woman who plotted to go on a Valentine’s Day shooting rampage at a Halifax mall has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for a decade.
American Lindsay Souvannarath pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit murder in a plan that would have seen two shooters open fire at the Halifax Shopping Centre food court in 2015.
Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Peter Rosinski told the court Friday she is and will remain a threat to society.
The judge said Souvannarath has not expressed remorse for her murderous plot, nor has she renounced her ideological motivations for the conspiracy.
Rosinski said he is satisfied that had the plan not been interrupted by an anonymous tip and the quick actions of local police, the plot to kill unsuspecting shoppers would have been carried out.
Rosinski said his sentencing was in part shaped by the principles that apply to terrorism offences.
While the judge told the court the motivations and intentions in the case aren’t precisely the same as terrorism activities, he said the crime requires the court to “send a clear message” to people conspiring to kill multiple people that “they will pay a heavy price.”
Souvannarath has also been ordered to provide a sample of her DNA and will be subjected to a firearms prohibition for 10 years after her release from prison. He gave her credit for time served in custody, so she will be eligible for parole in seven years.
Police thwarted the planned attack after receiving an anonymous tip, but not before Souvannarath boarded a plane in Chicago, Ill., bound for Nova Scotia.
Her co-conspirator, James Gamble, killed himself as police surrounded his Halifax-area home, while Souvannarath was arrested at the airport.
A third accomplice — a local man described in court as the “cheerleader” of the plot — was previously sentenced to a decade in jail.
At the sentencing hearing Monday, Rosinski called it a “very unusual and difficult case.”
When he asked Souvannarath if she would like to address the court prior to sentencing, the 26-year-old said: “I decline.”
Before delivering sections of his decision orally in court Friday, the judge entered new letters from Souvannarath’s parents and grandparents as exhibits in the case.
The parents of both Souvannarath and Gamble were in court for the sentencing hearing.
The Canadian Press