| LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES Jan 27 The upcoming trial of a man
accused of killing a U.S. security screener and wounding three
people at Los Angeles International Airport was postponed on
Monday by a federal judge, giving prosecutors more time to
decide whether to seek the death penalty.
Paul Anthony Ciancia, who is accused of walking into an
airport terminal in November and opening fire with a
semi-automatic rifle, had been tentatively set for trial next
week on murder and attempted murder charges.
But U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez vacated that trial
date at the request of prosecutors, who said during a brief
pre-trial hearing in federal court in Los Angeles that they were
going through a "multi-step process" of determining whether to
seek the death penalty against Ciancia.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said U.S.
Attorney Eric Holder would make the final decision in the coming
weeks. Gutierrez ordered both sides back to court on March 3 for
another status conference in the case.
Ciancia, who was wounded by gunfire from police during the
shooting rampage at the airport, appeared in court wearing a
bandage on his neck and green prison garb, his hands cuffed in
front of him. He did not speak during the hearing.
A defense attorney said Ciancia, 23, had been recovering
from his wounds in jail and "getting stronger every day."
The TSA agent killed in the attack, Gerardo Hernandez, 39,
was the first agent slain in the line of duty since the agency
was created in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
In addition to a single count of murder and two counts of
attempted murder of federal officers, Ciancia is charged with
four counts of committing an act of violence at an international
airport and four counts of firearms offenses. He has been
ordered held without bond pending trial.
(Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Bernard