(CHICAGO) — Brian Howard, the 36-year-old man who allegedly started the fire at a Federal Aviation Administration facility near Chicago that prompted the delay or cancellation of hundreds of flights, appeared before a federal magistrate on Monday.
Howard said he understood the charges against him and the possible penalties he faces before waiving a preliminary hearing. The case will next be assigned to a federal district court judge, though no start date was scheduled.
Howard was not asked to enter a plea at Monday’s hearing.
He was arrested on Monday after being released from a local medical center.
After the hearing, Howard’s attorney Ron Safer said that his client had attempted to end his life on Friday when he set the fire, calling those actions a “tragic mistake.”
Safer did not say whether Howard will contest the charges against him, noting that “only someone who is deeply troubled would do that.”
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