AMARILLO, Texas (AP) — A JetBlue Airways pilot who disrupted a cross-country flight by leaving the cockpit and yelling about religion and terrorists is free to go home rather than be committed to a mental health facility, a Texas judge ruled Friday.
Clayton Osbon was charged with interference with a flight crew for the March incident, but was found not guilty by reason of insanity in July. A forensic neuropsychologist testified in a short, unpublicized trial that Osbon had a "brief psychotic disorder" brought on by lack of sleep.
U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson said Friday that Osbon would be allowed to go free, but set certain conditions for his release. He will not be allowed to fly or board any commercial or private planes without the permission of Robinson or his probation officer, and he will not be allowed to communicate with any passengers from the March 27 flight he disrupted, according to the judge's order.
"This is a bad situation for you and your family, but you are fortunate to have the type of immediate support that you have," Robinson said.
Passengers on the March 27 flight from New York to Las Vegas said the 49-year-old Osbon ran through the cabin yelling about Jesus and al-Qaida. The flight was diverted and safely landed in Amarillo, Texas.
At least 10 passengers have sued JetBlue over the episode.
Osbon appeared in a green jail jumpsuit and did not make an extended statement in court. His attorney, Dean Roper, said afterward that he didn't know if Osbon would fly again, but was relieved the months-long legal proceeding was at an end.
"It's been a long ordeal for everyone involved, especially Mr. Osbon," Roper said.
Osbon left the federal courthouse without commenting to reporters and was expected head back to his home in Georgia later in the day. Osbon and a friend who attended the hearing planned to make the 1,300-mile trip by car, Roper said.
JetBlue spokeswoman Sharon Jones said Friday that Osbon still was employed and listed on "inactive duty." Jones declined to say if Robinson's order would affect that status.
Osbon showed up unusually late for the March 27 flight. The plane was in midair when he told his first officer that they wouldn't make it to their destination, according to court documents.
Osbon began to ramble about religion, scolded air traffic controllers to quiet down, then turned off the radios altogether and dimmed the monitors in the cockpit. He said aloud that "things just don't matter" and encouraged his co-pilot to take a leap of faith.
When he left the cockpit, passengers moved to restrain him. A flight attendant's ribs were bruised in the scuffle, but no one was seriously injured.
Neuropsychologist Robert E.H. Johnson testified in July that Osbon's psychotic disorder at the time of flight lasted for about a week afterward, according to a hearing transcript. He determined Osbon suffered from a brief psychotic disorder and delusions "secondary to sleep deprivation." He didn't say how long Osbon had gone without sleeping before boarding the plane, and his psychiatric evaluation of Osbon has been sealed.
Those symptoms made Osbon incapable of understanding why his actions on the flight were wrong, Johnson testified.
After the July trial, Osbon was sent to a prison medical facility in North Carolina for evaluation. Robinson was to decide what happened next for Osbon in August, but instead extended his evaluation period into October after being notified that Osbon had suffered a psychotic episode in prison. She did not say what the nature of the episode was, if it was connected to his previous disorder or what prompted it.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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