American woman sentenced to life in Canada for deadly plot

FILE - In this March 6, 2015 file photo, Lindsay Souvannarath arrives at provincial court in Halifax. Souvannarath, who plotted to go on a Valentine's Day shooting rampage at a Canadian mall has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for nearly a decade. Souvannarath of Geneva, Illinois pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit murder in a plan that involved opening fire at a mall in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2015. (Andrew Vaughan /The Canadian Press via AP, File)

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia — An American woman who plotted to go on a Valentine's Day shooting rampage at a Canadian mall was sentenced to life in prison Friday with no chance of parole for nearly a decade.

Lindsay Souvannarath of Geneva, Illinois pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit murder in a plan that involved opening fire at a mall in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2015.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Peter Rosinski said that Souvannarath is and will remain a threat to society. He said she has not expressed remorse for her plot.

Rosinski also said that if the plan to kill unsuspecting shoppers had not been interrupted by an anonymous tip and the quick actions of local police, it would have been carried out.

Rosinski said his sentence was partly shaped by the principles that apply to terrorism. While he told the court the motivations and intentions in the case aren't precisely the same as those related to terrorism activities, he said the crime requires the court to "send a clear message" to those conspiring to kill multiple people that "they will pay a heavy price."

The judge also gave Souvannarath 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 Souvannarath had already boarded a plane in Chicago bound for Nova Scotia.

Her co-conspirator, James Gamble, killed himself as police surrounded his Halifax-area home. 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.

When Rosinski 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.

At the time the plot was being planned, Souvannarath and Gamble were unemployed and lived with their families.

Court documents released say online conversations between Souvannarath and her Canadian friend quickly devolved into a shared admiration for the Columbine killers, mass shootings and their murderous conspiracy to go on the shooting rampage at the Halifax Shopping Centre food court.

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