Frank James jailed in Brooklyn Subway mass shooting case

Frank Jacob

Photos of Frank James included in an FBI affidavit accusing him of the Brooklyn subway shooting.

accused New York subway shooter FrankRobertJames agreed to remain in jail pending trial during a court date Thursday, his first hearing after being charged under a federal counter-terrorism law. His defense attorney left open the possibility of a future bail request.

Asked by prosecutor to state reasons for his detention, US Magistrate Judge Roanne L Mann remarked, “I think the complaint speaks for itself.”

Panic broke out on the New York City subway early Tuesday morning after passengers reported gunshots and smoke on an N subway train at 36th Street in Brooklyn. authorities to say that 23 people were injured and a manhunt ensued, leading to James’ arrest on Wednesday.

Assistant to the US Attorney Sara K. Winik the judge warned that James, 62, posed “a serious and ongoing threat to the community and a serious escape risk”.

“The defendant’s attack was entirely premeditated,” Winik wrote in a letter calling for his imprisonment. “The day before the shooting, the defendant picked up a U-Haul in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which he drove over the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and into Brooklyn in the early hours of April 12. The defendant arrived in Brooklyn with all the weapons and tools he needed to carry out the mass attack: a Glock 17 pistol that the defendant had purchased, a container of gasoline, a flashlight, and firecrackers with explosive powder. All were later found on the platform of the 36th Street and 4th Avenue subway station.”

The FBI says it has amassed a wealth of evidence pointing to James, including the gun, firecrackers, surveillance footage and a YouTube rant that appears to point to a motive.

“Searches at the scene of the attack turned up two bags, both of which were recovered from the scene,” an FBI agent said George Alvarez wrote in a 10-page affidavit. “The first bag contained, among other things, a firearm, a plastic container of gas, a flashlight, a U-Haul key and several bank cards. The firearm was an Austrian-made Glock 17 pistol.”

Prosecutors say markings above the serial number appeared to show an attempt to deface it.

Frank Jacob

Frank James’s Glock, according to the FBI

Authorities believe James legally purchased the gun in Ohio, although he reportedly has a long criminal record. The New York City Police Department reportedly said that James had nine arrests between 1992 and 1998, including possession of burglary tools, criminal sexual conduct, and burglary, and New Jersey authorities said he received three arrests and charges there, including petty theft and disorderly conduct in 2007 and trespassing in 1992, pursuant to WNBC.

Through mostly lower-level crimes, prosecutors said, together they paint a portrait of a man who disregards legal authority.

“Prior to this offense being committed, the defendant had been arrested nearly a dozen times over a nearly 30-year period in at least two states for a variety of mostly minor crimes,” the letter reads. “The defendant was convicted of, among other things, reckless endangerment, trespassing, theft, criminal manipulation and disorderly conduct. Individually, these offenses might be considered minor, but collectively they paint a picture of a person with a disregard for authority and unwilling to conform to the law.”

In the second bag, the FBI said, they found firecrackers with explosives designed to spew black powder. Prosecutors say these were purchased with a debit card in James’ name.

If released, prosecutors argue, James would have every incentive to flee and little to stop him.

“He has no permanent address, appears to live or has lived in several states recently, and has no long-term ties to New York City,” the letter seeking his incarceration said. “The defendant also took steps to evade arrest: he wore a disguise when he carried out the subway attack and then fled the scene, leaving his cellphone and other identification documents behind. In addition, as set out above, the accused faces a life sentence.”

James faces a life sentence if convicted.

Read the government letter below.

(Photos via DOJ)

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James Brien

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