Life or death legal journey for airport shooting suspect

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A authorized journey that would imply life or dying for the suspect within the Florida airport mass capturing has begun with appointment of a public defender to characterize the Iraq struggle veteran blamed for killing 5 individuals and wounding six extra.

U.S. Justice of the Peace Decide Alicia Valle advised Esteban Santiago, 26, at a listening to Monday that the three federal fees lodged towards him might imply the dying penalty if he’s convicted.

“We’re telling you the utmost penalty allowed by regulation so that you simply perceive the seriousness of the fees,” the decide stated.

Shackled in a purple jumpsuit within the closely guarded federal courtroom, Santiago answered principally sure or no to questions, and informed the decide he understands the fees, which embrace committing violence towards individuals at a world airport leading to demise, and two firearms offenses.

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He said he had been in the Army, where he made about $15,000 a year. He mentioned expenses including $560 in monthly rent, plus phone and other utility bills. He said he owns no property and doesn’t have a vehicle. He said he had worked for a security company, Signal 88, in Anchorage, Alaska, until November, making $2,100 a month, but currently only had $5 to $10 in the bank.

Given his finances, the judge decided he’s eligible for government lawyers at taxpayer expense.

Valle ordered Santiago held without bail and also set a detention hearing for Jan. 17, followed by an arraignment for entering a plea for Jan. 23.

More than a dozen officers kept watch outside the courthouse, carrying rifles and wearing bulletproof vests. There were also mounted police and K-9 units.

The charges don’t specifically use the word murder, but the effects of one of the gun charges and the airport charge are the same because they cover actions that result in a person’s death and can result in capital punishment, said former federal prosecutor David S. Weinstein.

“Under federal law, there are many statutes that cover the killing of another human being and unlike state statutes, they are not specifically titled murder. But the elements of the crime and the definition of murder are the same,” he said.

State authorities could file first-degree murder charges against Santiago, but that’s unnecessary for now, Weinstein added, because there is no statute of limitations on murder. If something were to go wrong in federal…

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