Lawyer: Man to plead guilty to setting Illinois radar facility fire that disrupted air traffic

A suburban Chicago contractor accused of setting fire to a radar facility and disrupting air traffic throughout the country will plead guilty.

Defense attorney Ronald Safer said Thursday that Brian Howard intends to plead guilty on June 4. Safer made his comments after Howard appeared in court for arraignment.

Safer said a plea agreement with prosecutors is being negotiated, with the goal being having Howard do his time in a federal prison offering mental health treatment.

The 37-year-old Howard of Naperville was a contract employee at a facility in Aurora. Authorities say he cut cables and set fire to a basement telecommunications room.

He is charged with willfully setting fire to, damaging, destroying or disabling an air navigation facility, and using fire to commit a federal felony.