Lindsay Souvannarath arrives at provincial court for a preliminary hearing in Halifax on Wednesday, July 8, 2015. They weren't just inspired by the Columbine shooters - two teenage gunmen with a mission to kill students and teachers at a suburban high school in Littleton, Colo. Souvannarath and James Gamble thought they were them. (Andrew Vaughan/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

American would-be mass murderer gets life for Halifax mall shooting plot

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A court in Nova Scotia sentenced a young American woman to life in prison with no chance of parole for a decade on Friday for her role in a plot to go on a Valentine’s Day shooting rampage at a Halifax mall three years ago.

Lindsay Souvannarath, 26, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit murder in a plan that would have seen her and her co-conspirator, James Gamble, open fire at the Halifax Shopping Centre food court in 2015.

Police thwarted the planned attack thanks to an anonymous tip but not before Souvannarath boarded a plane to fly into Halifax from Chicago to take part in the planned attack. Gamble, killed himself as police surrounded his Halifax-area home, while Souvannarath was arrested at the airport.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Peter Rosinski told the court Friday she is and will remain a threat to society.

The judge said Souvannarath has not expressed remorse for her murderous plot, nor has she renounced her ideological motivations for the conspiracy, and she only pleaded guilty after learning that her social media conversations with Gamble would be permitted as evidence.

Rosinski said he is satisfied that had the plan not been interrupted by the quick actions of local police, the plot to kill unsuspecting shoppers would resulted in “multiple serious casualties.”

Rosinski said his sentencing was meant in part to “send a clear message” to people conspiring to kill multiple people that “they will pay a heavy price.”

Souvannarath has also been ordered to provide a sample of her DNA and will be subjected to a firearms prohibition for 10 years after her release from prison.

Factoring in time already served in custody, Souvannarath will be eligible for parole in seven years.

A third accomplice — a local man described in court as the “cheerleader” of the plot — was previously sentenced to a decade in jail.

With files from CBC News and The Canadian Press

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