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JetBlue Pilot Who Had Apparent Meltdown Arraigned In Federal Court

Clayton Osbon Smiles At His Supporters, But Does Not Enter A Plea
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Clayton Osbon (credit: Personal Photo)

Clayton Osbon (credit: Personal Photo)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The JetBlue pilot who had an apparent mid-air meltdown last week was moved from a hospital bed to a federal courtroom on Monday.

Clayton Osbon was escorted in handcuffs out of Northwest Texas Hospital in Amarillo to his arraignment in Amarillo.

In court Monday, the 49-year-old captain smiled at his wife and JetBlue employees that came to support him. He did not speak, other than to tell a judge he understood the charges, and his smile later disappeared when he posed for his mug shot. He was not asked to enter a plea during the hearing, reports CBS 2’s Dana Tyler.

Osbon’s disturbing behavior last Tuesday forced the emergency landing of JetBlue Flight 191 from John F. Kennedy Internal Airport to Las Vegas.

His co-pilot, Jason Dowd, locked Osbon out of the cockpit and four passengers helped restrain him. The following is some of what Dowd told air traffic control: “JetBlue 191 declaring an emergency. JetBlue 191 we’re gonna have to head into Amarillo, declaring an emergency at this time.”

Osbon’s wife, Connye Osbon, released a statement Sunday that said in part: “It is our belief, as Clayton’s family, that while he was clearly distressed, he was not intentionally violent towards anyone.”

On Monday, she thanked the passengers for acting as they did.

“We know you were placed in an awful situation and we appreciate your ability to respond professionally,” she said.

And even as loved ones say Clayton Osbon is a harmless soul, prosecutors on Monday said he is a man who shouldn’t be back on the streets, let alone back on a plane.

Osbon, who faces charges of interfering with his own flight crew, will remain in the custody of U.S. Marshals at least until his next court appearance, which is Thursday. A judge will then rule on the prosecutor’s request that he be held without bond.

If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

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