Court Finds Alleged Key Largo Shooter to Be Competent for Trial


A Key Largo man accused of trying to kill U.S. Coast Guard crewmen has been assessed competent to stand trial on federal charges that could carry a life sentence.

A Key West trial for Daniel M. Szabo, 40, now scheduled for April 4, has been delayed a second time.

On Dec. 7, Szabo was declared competent for trial after a psychiatric and psychological examination conducted while he was held in federal custody.

"Both sides agree that [Szabo] is competent to stand trial," minutes of the Key West hearing say. U.S. Magistrate Judge Lurana Snow agreed.

Witness reports from Aug. 21 say Szabo was apparently drunk and brandishing a gun at Jules Undersea Lodge marina in Key Largo.

He left in a dinghy and tried to elude a Coast Guard vessel pursuing him through Largo Sound. Coast Guardsmen told investigators they believe Szabo fired shots at them before the chase ended with Szabo's arrest. No one was injured.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy T. McCall, the lead prosecutor, requested a delay from Szabo's scheduled Jan. 11 trial.

McCall also is prosecuting Andy Pujol-Marrero on human-smuggling charges from a September arrest off Miami Beach. That trial also was scheduled for Jan. 11. Pujol is charged with taking $16,000 from a Brazilian woman to smuggle her two teen-age sons into Miami-Dade on a boat run from Bimini.

Szabo's defense attorney did not object to the trial delay. Federal inmate records indicate Szabo was released from custody Dec. 3 pending trial, apparently after posting $100,000 bond.

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