Justice

Randall Steven Shepherd sentenced to 10 years in mall shooting plot

Planned 2015 Valentine's Day massacre was foiled by police tip

shaunamacdonald
Crown prosecutor Shauna MacDonald speaks to reporters following Shepherd’s sentencing.   Rob Csernyik

Randall Steven Shepherd, the co-accused in the 2015 Halifax Shopping Centre mass shooting plot, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

He pleaded guilty on Tuesday in Nova Scotia Supreme Court to a charge of conspiracy to commit murder.

Both Crown prosecutor Shauna MacDonald and defence lawyer Roger Burrill described Shepherd as disaffected with society due to poor employment options and failed romantic relationships. They presented these findings in an agreed statement of facts submitted to Justice Patrick Duncan.

A joint sentencing recommendation called for a 10-year prison sentence and a lifetime ban on owning firearms.

MacDonald told the court this case was “one of the most difficult sentencings” her office has ever been involved with. She said there was “no real precedence,” so they looked at cases involving terrorism to come up with the recommended sentence.

Duncan commended the “professional and insightful approach” of both the prosecution and the defence. He concluded the recommended sentence seemed to “fit” similar cases and agreed to sentence Shepherd to 10 years, less time served.

Shepherd got involved in the plot because he was influenced by his best friend, James Gamble, according to the statement of facts. Gamble killed himself after police were told of the plan.

Police received an anonymous tip on Feb. 12, 2015, about a planned massacre at the Halifax Shopping Centre on Valentine’s Day.

Shepherd was arrested the next day at Halifax Stanfield International Airport, along with Lindsay Kanittha Souvannarath, Gamble’s girlfriend who was arriving from Geneva, Ill.

Souvannarath has been charged with conspiracy to commit murder. Her trial is scheduled for May.