Airport shooting suspect gets public defender, detention hearing next week

Will remain behind bars
Posted at 5:01 AM, Jan 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-09 13:25:46-05

Esteban Santiago made his first appearance before a judge in Federal Court in Broward County Monday morning.

He's accused of opening fire at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Friday, killing five people and injuring several others.

FBI agents say he bought a one-way ticket from Alaska to Fort Lauderdale to carry out his attack, but they don't know the motive behind it.

He walked into the courtroom shackled, wearing a red jumpsuit. He gave a quick glance to the gallery and then kept his head down or looking straight ahead for the rest of the hearing. 

RELATED: More coverage of the airport shooting

Several U.S. Marshals surrounded Santiago while he sat at a table during his court hearing. U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia Valle began the hearing by reading Santiago his rights. He answered the judge's questions appropriately, mostly with a simple 'yes' or 'no.'

The judge read the charges against Santiago from the criminal complaint the state filed on January 7th. He's facing charges of performing and act of violence against a person at an airport that caused serious bodily injury, using and carrying a firearm during a violent crime and causing the death of a person through the use of a firearm. The first and third charges carry a possible maximum sentence of life in prison or the death penalty.

The judge then asked Santiago if he could afford his own attorney and he said no. In order for him to qualify for a public defender, the judge asked him a serious of questions about his financial status.

Santiago told the judge he was unemployed and his last job was in November. He told the judge he worked as a security officer for a company called ‘Signal 88' in Anchorage, Alaska, making about $2100 a month. Before that, Santiago said he was in the Army for about 10 years.

He told the judge he did not own any property and did not own any type of vehicle. When asked if he had a bank account, Santiago told the judge he had a checking and savings in the same account, which currently has about $5-$10 in it. The judge decided he met the requirements for a public defender.

Bob Berube, who will be representing Santiago, did not have a comment after the hearing.

The judge set a detention hearing for Tuesday, January 17 at 1 p.m. In front of Judge Snow and a potential arraignment for January 23 at 11 a.m. in front of Judge Hunt.