Defendant who shot Brooklyn subway planned to plead guilty: lawyer


A man accused of injuring 10 people in a mass shooting on a crowded Brooklyn subway train tells his lawyer he wants to plead guilty next month to all charges. against him, including terrorism.

Frank James, 63, wants to plead guilty in the first week of January, attorneys said Wednesday in a letter to U.S. District Judge William F. Kuntz II. They did not explain why he wanted to admit his guilt.

James has been held in a federal prison in Brooklyn since he was arrested in the April 12 attacks, which stunned the city and began a massive 30-hour manhunt that ended when hands gun calls the police.

The shooter activated a pair of smoke grenades and then scattered a random volley of bullets inside the train, leaving passengers bloody as the train moved between stations.

During the chaos, authorities said James switched to another train and escaped. But he left behind the gun, the magazine, an ax, gasoline and the keys to a rented truck. That key and surveillance cameras in the subway system helped authorities identify James, who was recorded entering the system dressed as a construction worker and wearing a yellow hard hat.

Before the shooting, James, who is black, had posted dozens of videos online in which he talked about race, violence and his struggles with mental illness. In several passages, he criticized the treatment of Blacks and said of how frustrated he was, “I should have gotten a gun and started shooting.”

A revised indictment last week charged James with 10 counts of orchestrating a terrorist attack on a public transit system.

James’s lawyers reveal that he intends to plead guilty came just a day after the defense team requested an adjournment of the trial scheduled for late February. Lawyers said more time was needed to review the evidence and because the indictment had been revised.

Prosecutors objected to delaying the trial, saying shooting victims deserved to see justice served without reasonable delay.

A spokeswoman for federal prosecutors in Brooklyn declined to comment.

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