Accounting for Law

Halifax mall plotters admired Columbine killers, court document reveals

HALIFAX — The co-conspirators in the foiled Valentine's Day shooting plot at a Halifax mall admired the Columbine killers and hoped to themselves inspire other mass shootings, a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge heard Monday.

``They both expressed enthusiasm for the pain/death they were going to cause,'' according to an agreed statement of facts presented at a sentencing hearing for 26-year-old Lindsay Souvannarath of Geneva, Illinois.

``They both deeply desired to achieve infamy and notoriety through the mass killing of others.

``They revelled in thinking about the pain and anguish their families would feel at their horrendous act. They hoped their massacre would inspire others to do the same.''

Souvannarath pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder last April, several months after Randall Steven Shepherd — a Halifax man described in court as the ``cheerleader'' of the shooting plot — was sentenced to a decade in jail.

A third alleged conspirator, 19-year-old James Gamble, was found dead in his Halifax-area home a day before the planned attack on the Halifax Shopping Centre.

The statement says Souvannarath and Gamble met online four days before the previous Christmas and discovered they both admired the Columbine massacre.

``Souvannarath and Gamble repeatedly stated that they were adopting the personas of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, respectively. They would often refer to each other by the nicknames of Harris (Reb) and Klebold (VoDKa),'' the agreed statement said.

``They would quote passages to each other from the publicly accessible journals of Harris and Klebold.''

Crown attorney Shauna MacDonald said Monday Souvannarath has failed to renounce her views, and remains an ongoing danger.

Luke Craggs, the defence attorney for Souvannarath, says he is recommending a sentence of 12 to 14 years, with credit for time served, while he said the Crown is recommending 20 years to life in prison.

The agreed statement said Gamble had been considering a mass killing and began to follow Souvannarath's blog _ filled with racist and violent material and sub-titled ``School Shooter Chic'' — the previous December.

The two soon began communicating via Facebook and exchanged sexual messages and ``expressed a shared connection to one another, a connection they had not felt before,'' according to the agreed statement.

``They believed their destiny was to commit this massacre.''

It added: ``She commented that committing a mass killing would punish the popular and hurt those who never understood her.''

They planned to wear masks and use a shotgun and hunting rifle owned by Gamble's father, it said. After the massacre, they planned to then kill each other.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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