Florida Airport Shooter to Be Sentenced to Life Plus 120 Years

Lester Mason
August 20, 2018

MIAMI-An Alaska man will spend the rest of his life in prison for the January 2017 Florida airport shooting that left five people dead and six wounded, a federal judge ordered Friday.

Santiago confessed to opening fire in a baggage claim area at the airport on January 6, 2017, killing five people and wounding six others.

The Alaska resident has been diagnosed with schizophrenia but was found competent to stand trial.

Santiago had accepted a plea bargain, admitting guilt on 11 charges in exchange for prosecutors declining to seek the death penalty.

Santiago opened fire in a baggage claim area of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, which is one of the nation's busiest. He retrieved a box containing a Walther 9 mm handgun from checked luggage, loaded it in a restroom and came out firing 15 shots.

According to the Sun Sentinel newspaper in Fort Lauderdale, Santiago was asked by U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom at his May hearing why he had gone on a shooting spree.

When Santiago's plan to plead guilty was announced in May, the US Attorney's Office said that each of the victims' families was contacted before the court considered the plea deal. "Doctors say he has improved with antipsychotic medication". "But a handful of the airport shooting's survivors and victims' family members spoke poignantly about the searing loss and maiming of loved ones, most of whom were elderly and traveling to go on a cruise vacation".

"We did not get a chance to say goodbye", said Melissa Beauchamp, the daughter of victim Mary Louise Amzibel.

Not long before the shooting, Santiago had gone into an Federal Bureau of Investigation satellite office in Anchorage, saying his mind was being controlled by national intelligence agencies that had forced him to watch videos of the jihadist Islamic State group. Prosecutors also charged he aggravated his mental illness by abusing hallucinogenic drugs after returning from Iraq, where he served with a National Guard unit.

Technically, Santiago was sentenced to five consecutive life prison sentences for the five deaths and an additional 120 years for the six people he wounded.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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