Frank R James

NY Subway Attacker Frank James Expected to Plead Guilty, Faces Life in Prison

Accused New York City subway attacker Frank James is expected to plead guilty this week to all terrorism charges against him in a move that would effectively imprison him for life.

James had previously pleaded not guilty, but in an about-face, his lawyers told the court last month that their client intends to plead guilty to an 11-count indictment.

Authorities allege James wounded 10 people after he fired a barrage of bullets and detonated two smoke grenades inside a subway car in Brooklyn on April 12, 2022.

A grand jury indicted James on 10 counts of committing a “terrorist attack and other violence against a mass transportation system and vehicle carrying passengers and employees,” in addition to one count of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, NY1 reports.

Each of the terrorism charges alone allows for a life sentence.

James is scheduled to appear before a federal court in Brooklyn on Tuesday afternoon. Ahead of that hearing, federal prosecutors on Friday filed a letter to the court outlining the potential range of sentences that could be imposed on James, who has not negotiated a plea agreement with the government.

If James indeed pleads guilty and takes responsibility for his actions, the federal government’s sentencing guidelines contemplate a sentence between 31 and 37 years in prison, according to Law&Crime.

However, if James does not accept responsibility, the court could impose a sentence from 40 years to life.

James has been detained in jail since his arrest, but that has not stopped him from derailing the judicial process. In October, U.S. District Judge William Kuntz ordered the U.S. Marshals to bring James into court because he refused to appear. Kuntz ordered the Marshals to “use all necessary force” to bring James back to court on Tuesday, the prosecutors’ letter states.

Judges and prosecutors do not have to strictly follow sentencing guidelines, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office indicated that it will recommend James be sentenced to prison for the remainder of the 63-year-old’s life, according to Law&Crime.

“In addition, as the government has informed defense counsel, based on the facts and circumstances known to the government at this time, including that the defendant planned his attack for years and fired more than thirty rounds on a crowded subway car endangering the lives of dozens of people, the government intends to seek an above-Guidelines sentence at the time of the defendant’s sentencing,” the government’s letter reads, according to Law&Crime.

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[Featured image: Frank James/New York Police Department]