the republic logo

Trial in deadly shooting at Los Angeles International Airport projected for February 2016

bug
Share/Save/Bookmark

LOS ANGELES — The death penalty trial of a man accused of a deadly shooting rampage at Los Angeles International Airport is tentatively scheduled for next year.

Defense lawyers for defendant Paul Ciancia told a federal judge Monday they will try to meet the projected trial date of Feb. 23, 2016.

The judge had wanted a trial this year, but it will take significantly longer to prepare because the prosecution is seeking a death sentence if Ciancia is convicted.

Prosecutors said in court papers that they would seek execution because Ciancia intentionally targeted federal employees, and terrorized passengers and airport workers.

Ciancia, 24, a New Jersey native, has pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges in the killing of Transportation Security Administration Officer Gerardo Hernandez, 39, and the wounding of three other people at LAX on Nov. 1, 2013.

PHOTO: FILE - This undated file photo provided by the FBI shows Paul Ciancia. Federal prosecutors will seek the death penalty against Ciancia, now 24, the man charged in a deadly shooting rampage at Los Angeles International Airport, according to court papers filed Friday, Jan. 2, 2015. Ciancia acted intentionally in the killing of an airport screening officer and terrorized passengers and colleagues of the fallen man, prosecutors said. Ciancia has pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges in the killing of Gerardo Hernandez, 39, and the wounding of three other people at LAX on Nov. 1, 2013.  (AP Photo/FBI, File)
FILE - This undated file photo provided by the FBI shows Paul Ciancia. Federal prosecutors will seek the death penalty against Ciancia, now 24, the man charged in a deadly shooting rampage at Los Angeles International Airport, according to court papers filed Friday, Jan. 2, 2015. Ciancia acted intentionally in the killing of an airport screening officer and terrorized passengers and colleagues of the fallen man, prosecutors said. Ciancia has pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges in the killing of Gerardo Hernandez, 39, and the wounding of three other people at LAX on Nov. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/FBI, File)

U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez said he thought the case could be tried by September, but he's willing to push it back to early next year. However, he said "something tremendous" would have to occur to delay it further.

Public defenders have said they have a mountain of evidence to digest. Prosecutors have disclosed at least 10,000 pieces of evidence, or 150 DVDs full of material.

Death penalty cases are more complex because lawyers have to prepare for guilt and penalty phases, and that often involves intensive digging for information from people who knew the defendant, even dating back to childhood.

"There's often a serious psychiatric component to these cases," said attorney Marilyn Bednarski, a former federal defender who represented Buford Furrow, a white supremacist who killed a Filipino postal worker and wounded five people in a 1999 shooting at a Los Angeles Jewish community center. "It's just not normal behavior. Often people are terribly mentally ill and those things take a long time to investigate."

Federal death penalty cases are relatively rare.

U.S. prosecutors have sought the punishment about 500 times since the federal death penalty was reinstated in 1988, said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center. During that time, there were 79 death sentences, but only three people have been executed.

Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!

Story copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Feedback, Corrections and Other Requests: AP welcomes feedback and comments from readers. Send an email to info@ap.org and it will be forwarded to the appropriate editor or reporter.


Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: FILE - In this Nov. 1, 2013 file photo provided to the AP, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, police officers stand near a weapon at Los Angeles International Airport after a gunman opened fire in the terminal. Federal prosecutors will seek the death penalty against Paul Ciancia, now 24, the man charged in the deadly shooting rampage at LAX, according to court papers filed Friday, Jan. 2, 2015. Ciancia acted intentionally in the killing of an airport screening officer and terrorizing passengers and colleagues of the fallen man, prosecutors said. Ciancia has pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges in the killing of Gerardo Hernandez, 39, and the wounding of three other people at LAX on Nov. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/File)
Click to view (2 Photos)
We also have more stories about:
(click the phrases to see a list)

Category:

Follow The Republic:

All content copyright ©2015 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved. Privacy policy.