Archive for Friday, August 18, 2006

Arrested passenger appears in court

August 18, 2006

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— A woman on a trans-Atlantic flight diverted to Boston for security concerns passed several notes to crew members, urinated on the cabin floor and made comments the crew believed were references to al-Qaida and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to an affidavit filed Thursday.

Catherine C. Mayo, 59, of Braintree, Vt., appeared Thursday in federal court on a charge of interfering with a flight crew on United 923 as it flew Wednesday from London to Washington, D.C.

She was dressed in a Rolling Stones T-shirt, black pants and socks without shoes for the hearing and was ordered held pending a detention and probable cause hearing next week.

Her attorney, federal public defender Page Kelley, said Mayo was "just barely" lucid when they spoke. "She's got some very serious mental health problems."

U.S. Atty. Michael Sullivan said he hoped to learn more about Mayo's mental state before the next court appearance. "We believe it's important during that time period to have a doctor examine her," he said.

Mayo's son, Josh, 31, described his mother as a peace activist and said she had been in Pakistan since March. She traveled there often since making a pen pal prior to 9-11, he said. The pen pal hasn't been allowed to visit the U.S., he added.

"I guess she just had a bit of a bad time on the plane, and everybody's a little paranoid," the son said.

The count against Mayo carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine.

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