The Alaska man accused of killing five people and wounding six in a shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in January 2017 will be sentenced to life in prison without parole in a plea agreement that his lawyers and prosecutors reached yesterday.
The agreement is especially surprising because the 28-year-old Esteban Santiago was facing federal charges because the shooting took place at an international airport. But the Miami Herald reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has advocated for expansion of the death penalty, agreed to the plea deal because victims’ family members supported it.
Now, if only prosecutors and defense attorneys could reach a plea deal that would spare Parkland, Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz, who like Santiago, suffers from mental issues, from a death penalty trial. Cruz has agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a sentence of life without parole in the February 14 shooting that left 17 students and faculty dead, but prosecutors are insisting on charging him with the death penalty.