The person accused of overtly killing 5 individuals and injuring six others in a Florida airport walked into federal courtroom in Broward County on Monday with shoulders doubled in and a sheepish look on the sight of a packed courtroom.
The sound of shackles introduced Esteban Santiago’s arrival to a courtroom within the U.S. District Courtroom for Southern District of Florida.
For about quarter-hour, the person accused of executing a calculated, speedy assault within the baggage declare space of Terminal 2 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport shifted in his chair, clenched his jaw and let out heavy sighs while waiting for the hearing to start.
Santiago, 26, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Alicia O. Valle under tight courthouse security, arriving from the Broward County Jail where he was being held on allegations of murder, airport violence and firearms.
He stared down at the defense table for much of the hearing and gave the judge one-word answers to questions about his finances and whether he understood the seriousness of the charges he faces.
Formal charges have not yet been filed.
Santiago was appointed a public defender after he was found to be indigent, telling the judge he owned no property and only had $5 to $10 in his savings and checking accounts. The accused gunman said he worked for a security company in Anchorage, Alaska, for about two years and made about $2,100 per month.
He said that before working for the security company, he was in the Army for “around 10 years” and made about $15,000 a year for the last three years of his service. Santiago told the judge he has not worked since November.
The suspect was not asked about the crimes he is accused of committing nor about his mental health.
Prosecutors asked the judge to order Santiago held on pretrial detention based on danger and risk of flight.
He was held in the Broward County Jail on Monday. A bond hearing is set for Jan. 17. He will answer to the charges during an arraignment Jan. 23.
In the federal justice system, prosecutors must convince a grand jury to indict a suspect, presenting the grand jury with enough evidence to support their claim of charging the suspect.
Grand jury hearings are held behind closed doors without public access, and there is broad leeway in the types of evidence they can hear in determining whether to indict a suspect.
Once he has been formally charged, Santiago will again appear in court to enter his…