Man pleads guilty in mass-murder plot at Halifax mall

AP News
Posted: Nov 22, 2016 12:27 PM

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) — A Canadian man involved in an alleged plot with an American woman to commit mass-murder at a mall on Canada's Atlantic coast was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to a plot that envisioned using rifles and gas bombs to kill shoppers.

Randall Steven Shepherd, a 22-year-old described in court as a "cheerleader" of the plot, made his guilty plea Tuesday in Nova Scotia Supreme Court. Lindsay Kantha Souvannarath of Geneva, Illinois, still faces charges in the plot to shoot shoppers at the Halifax Shopping Centre in the city's west end.

The prosecution alleged the two accused and a third man planned to attack the mall on Valentine's Day in 2015. The third man, 19-year-old James Gamble, committed suicide as police converged on his home.

The prosecution said Tuesday that Shepherd had planned to kill himself before the planned attack, and while he wasn't the main plotter he was "a cheerleader."

An agreed statement of facts says he planned to provide gasoline for Molotov cocktail bombs and assisted in making a video that was to be played after a massacre.

"But for a Crime Stopper's tip (to police) ... Mr. Shepherd's co-conspirators may very well have accomplished their goals," said Justice Patrick Duncan before issuing the sentence.

The court heard that police were tipped off through Crime Stoppers and went to Gamble's house, and spoke to him on the telephone before the 19-year-old killed himself with a single shot to his head with his father's gun.

Defense lawyer Roger Burrill said Shepherd, a thin and pale young man, had been through a period of social isolation and failed relationships with young women. He said he was dragged into Gamble's world and shared with him an interest in gore and horror films on the Internet. Burrill said a psychiatrist found Shepherd's personality had been affected by a dark, online world and developed an alternative persona on his computer.

Shepherd was arrested at the airport the day before the planned attack, where he had driven to meet Souvannarath, the court heard.