(CBS) — The defense attorney for a Naperville man accused of sabotaging air-traffic control in the Chicago region pleaded Monday for the public’s understanding as his suicidal client made an appearance in federal court.
“He made a tragic mistake,” Ronald Safer said of 36-year-old Brian Howard, whom a judge ordered held without bond. “Only someone who’s deeply troubled would do that.”READ MORE: ONLY ON 2: Kenneth Smith, Convicted 3 Times Of 2001 Burrito Express Murder, Released On Appellate Ruling; Victim's Family Maintains Smith Is Guilty
Howard is accused of setting a fire at an Aurora radar facility that effectively shut down Chicago’s airports Friday.
The former contract field technician was charged with destruction of aircraft facilities. He allegedly set a fire in the basement of the FAA’s Air Route Traffic Control Center in Aurora on Friday before inflicting knife wounds on his own arms and throat. The fire led to thousands of flight cancellations and delays at both Midway and O’Hare since Friday.