A USA veteran of the war in Iraq who killed five people during a shooting spree in the arrivals area of a Florida airport past year was sentenced on Friday to life in federal prison for what the judge called "85 seconds of evil".
Santiago had accepted a plea bargain, admitting guilt on 11 charges in exchange for prosecutors declining to seek the death penalty.
He pleaded guilty in May to five counts of committing acts of violence at an worldwide airport causing death and six counts of committing acts of violence at an global airport causing serious bodily injury.
Esteban Santiago was sentenced Friday in Miami federal court to five consecutive life terms, plus 120 years.
He flew from Anchorage, Alaska, to Florida on a one-way ticket, retrieving a box containing handgun from his checked luggage, before loading it in a bathroom and emerging to fire 15 shots at passengers collecting their luggage in Terminal 2.
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Judge Bloom called the rampage "85 seconds of evil" and said she found it hard to "separate the evil of the acts from the evil in the man". The judge had specifically deferred Santiago's sentencing that he could hear from his victim's and their family.
He was diagnosed with schizophrenia but was deemed able to stand trial. "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, all of whom were elderly and traveling to go on a cruise. Among those was Julie Beauchamp, whose mother Mary Louise Amzibel was killed in the attack and father, Edward Amzibel, who was seriously wounded.
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.
Santiago's guilty plea was a foregone conclusion after prosecutors and defense lawyers said they had reached the deal in May. Santiago, 28, a USA citizen who was born in New Jersey and raised in Puerto Rico, was convicted of 11 charges in the 22-count indictment, with the remainder of the offenses being dismissed.
Santiago is responsible for deadliest airport shooting in US history.
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