Pair charged in Halifax mall plot to go to trial as preliminary hearing wraps

Two young people accused of plotting to shoot shoppers at a Halifax mall have been committed to stand trial on several charges, including conspiracy to commit murder.

HALIFAX — Two young people accused of plotting to shoot shoppers at a Halifax mall have been committed to stand trial on several charges, including conspiracy to commit murder.

A preliminary hearing, which lasted a total of three days, wrapped up Thursday for 23-year-old Lindsay Kantha Souvannarath of Geneva, Ill., and 21-year-old Randall Steven Shepherd of Halifax.

A routine publication ban prohibits reporting what was heard during the hearing to ensure the accused receive a fair trial.

They have also been charged with conspiracy to commit arson, illegal possession of dangerous weapons and making a threat through social media.

The Crown alleges the two accused, along with a 19-year-old man found dead in his Halifax home, had planned to attack the Halifax Shopping Centre on Valentine’s Day. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

“We have a strong case to go forward on,” Crown attorney Mark Heerema said outside court.

Judge Anne Derrick told the court the accused are expected to appear in court Aug. 6 for a pre-trial hearing.

Outside court, Heerema said the pair would face a jury trial in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

He said it was unclear when the trial would be held, but he suggested that it would likely take up several weeks in the fall of 2016.

He said the files disclosed by the Crown to the defence include hundreds of thousands of pages, many of them screen-grabs from social media sites.

“It’s becoming less uncommon for cases to have a lot of social media evidence,” he said outside the court.

“It’s a product of people using social media, texting or cellphones more frequently. Certainly, this is an exceptional case for the amount of disclosure. It is truly voluminous.”

Shepherd and Souvannarath remain in custody at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Halifax. Neither one has applied for bail. Heerema said the Crown would oppose such an application.

On Feb. 14, Halifax Police Chief Jean-Michel Blais announced that police had thwarted an alleged mass murder plot, saying the investigation started as the result of an anonymous Crime Stoppers tip received early on Feb. 12.

Police later confirmed that a third suspect, 19-year-old James Gamble, had fatally shot himself on Feb. 13 in the Halifax suburb of Timberlea.

At the time, RCMP Asst. Commissioner Brian Brennan said three long-barrelled rifles had been seized from Gamble’s home.

Brennan alleged Gamble intended to go to a public place with a woman and open fire on citizens before killing themselves on Valentine’s Day.

Police have said Souvannarath and Shepherd were arrested at the airport in Halifax on Feb. 13 after she arrived there to meet him.

Just Posted

Red Deer Express to publish final edition Wednesday

Black Press strengthens commitment to Red Deer Advocate

Red Deer County ponders garden suite proposal

Property owner’s garden suite plans exceed county regulations

Make Parsons house preservation an election issue, Red Deer city councillor suggests

Coun. Michael Dawe says candidates can be questioned about where they stand

PHOTO: Everybody Loves a Sale

Dozens of people wanted a chance to scoop up some discounted Canada Winter Games merchandise

Red Deer County posts big surplus

2018 operating budget came in with $5.8 million surplus

Slow cooker or Instant Pot?

Now that the viral craze surrounding the Instant Pot has quieted down… Continue reading

Millennial Money: There’s more than one way to slay a debt

The saying that debt is easy to get into and hard to… Continue reading

Bianca Andreescu’s win streak ends after early exit because of injury

MIAMI — The injury bug has derailed Bianca Andreescu’s impressive run. The… Continue reading

CONCACAF teams to learn Nations League draw on Wednesday in Las Vegas

Canada will learn its next CONCACAF Nations League opponents at Wednesday’s draw… Continue reading

Alanis Morissette announces pregnancy in Instagram photo

Alanis Morissette is pregnant with her third child. The Grammy-winning singer posted… Continue reading

“MLB The Show 19” allows video gamers a chance to relive baseball history

TORONTO — From Babe Ruth’s debut as a pitcher to Jose Bautista’s… Continue reading

Canada Revenue Agency tax services back online after ‘hardware’ problems

OTTAWA — The websites Canadians use to file their taxes online were… Continue reading

Roof structures failed before Radiohead stage came down, inquest hears

TORONTO — Metal structures meant to hold a roof over a stage… Continue reading

Most Read