NEW YORK –
A man accused of shooting up a New York City subway train last month in an attack that wounded 10 people pleaded not guilty Friday to terrorism and other charges.
Frank James pleaded guilty in federal court in Brooklyn, where US District Judge William F. Kuntz began proceedings by asking James, “How are you today?”
“Pretty good,” James replied.
When asked about his educational background, James said he attended public schools in the Bronx before earning a GED. He said that he also attended some trade schools.
James, 62, faces charges of committing a terrorist attack or other violence against a mass transportation system and discharging a firearm during a violent crime. Both charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The defendant was arrested on April 13, about 30 hours after authorities said he was driving from Philadelphia and unleashed smoke bombs and dozens of bullets on a train packed with morning commuters as it approached a Brooklyn station. The shooting victims were between the ages of 16 and 60; they all survived.
Authorities said James’ bank card, cell phone and the key to a van he had rented were found at the scene of the shooting. Police also said they found the Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistol used in the shooting and traced it to James.
Defense attorney Mia Eisner-Grynberg had warned at the time of James’ arrest not to rush to judgment, noting that James alerted police to his whereabouts. He was arrested in Manhattan’s East Village after calling a tip line saying he was at a fast food restaurant in that section of town.
Eisner-Grynberg declined to comment outside of court on Friday.
The motive for the attack is unclear. In numerous rants he posted on YouTube, James, who is black, made bigoted comments about people of diverse backgrounds and criticized New York Mayor Eric Adams and complained about the mental health care he received in the city years ago.
James, who is being held without bail, is due back in court on July 25.