Federal prosecutors have recommended life sentences for the man who opened fire on a crowded Brooklyn subway train last year, injuring 10 people

ByThe Associated Press

September 20, 2023, 9:00 PM

Federal prosecutors have recommended life sentences for the man who opened fire on a crowded Brooklyn subway train last year, injuring 10 people.

In a memo addressed to leading Judge William F. Kuntz II on Wednesday, prosecutors said there was overwhelming evidence that shows Frank James intended to kill. They asked for him to be sentenced to 10 concurrent life sentences as well as 120 months’ imprisonment.

“Sentencing the defendant to life in prison is the only sentence that will ensure he never harms the public again,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace wrote.

James’ defense lawyers, however, asked that he receive an 18-year prison sentence, insisting he was and still is severely mentally ill.

“After decades of persistently seeking, but never receiving, appropriate mental health care, Mr. James wrought unspeakable horror on innocent subway riders, each entirely blameless for his struggles. His actions were inexcusable, and he does not justify or minimize them,” wrote his lawyer, Mia Eisner-Grynberg, in a court document. “But,” she added, “Mr. James is not evil. He is very, very ill.”

In January, James pleaded guilty to federal terrorism charges for the attack carried out during the height of an early morning commute on April 12, 2022.

Dressed as a maintenance worker, James fired a semi-automatic pistol about 32 times after setting off smoke grenades — wounding 10 victims as the train pulled into a station in Sunset Park. James then fled in the haze and chaos, setting off a 30-hour citywide manhunt that ended when he called the police on himself.

“The fact that no one was killed by the defendant’s 32 gunshots can only be described as luck as opposed to the defendant’s intentional choice,” Peace wrote.

James is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 28.

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