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Judge Rules JetBlue Captain Is Competent To Stand Trial
By Mike Mitchell

June 18, 2012 - On Friday Texas District Court Judge Mary Lou Robinson ruled that JetBlue Captain Clayton Osbon is mentally competent to stand trial. Back on March 27, Flight 191 departed John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport, for Las Vegas, Nevada, piloted by Captain Clayton Frederick Osbon, while in flight, Osbon who had served in the military began displaying behaviors of someone having a nervous breakdown while piloting an Airbus A320. The aircraft was diverted to the Amarillo airport. 

Court documents indicate that on March 27, Captain Osbon, showed up at JFK later than he should have and missed the crew briefing. Initially, Osbon did not exhibit any bizarre behavior. As Flight 191 climbed out of JFK, Osbon said something to the copilot about being evaluated by someone. The copilot was not sure what Osbon meant, Osbon began talking about his church and needing to "focus".  

Osbon asked the copilot to take the controls and to work the radios. Osbon began talking about religion, but his statements were not coherent. The copilot became concerned when Osbon said "things just don't matter". Osbon yelled over the radio to air traffic control and instructed them to be quiet.

Osbon turned off the radios in the aircraft and started dimming his monitors. Osbon sternly admonished the copilot for trying to talk on the radio. The copilot became really worried when Osbon said "we need to take a leap of faith".  

Osbon started trying to correlate completely unrelated numbers like different radio frequencies, and he talked about sins in Las Vegas. At some point, Osbon told the copilot "we're not going to Vegas". Osbon began giving what the copilot described as a sermon. 

Concerned with Osbon's behavior, the copilot suggested to Osbon that they invite the off duty non-rev JetBlue captain to the cockpit. Instead, Osbon abruptly left cockpit to go to the forward lavatory. This occurred roughly 3-1/2 hrs into the scheduled five hour flight. 

Osbon did not follow the company's security protocol when leaving the cockpit, which alarmed the rest of crew. When the flight attendants met with him at the front galley to find out if anything was wrong, Osbon aggressively grabbed a flight attendant's hands. Osbon banged on the lavatory door and told a female passenger who was inside that he needed to go to the bathroom.



The copilot asked a flight attendant to bring the non-revenue (passenger) captain to the cockpit while Osbon was in the lavatory. The non-rev captain assisted the copilot the rest of the flight. Osbon came out of the lavatory and began talking to flight attendants but was not making sense.  

Osbon mentioned "150 souls on board". Osbon walked to the back of aircraft. On his way, he stopped and asked a male passenger if he had a problem. Osbon sprinted back toward the galley, and the flight attendants gave chase. The flight attendants had already notified certain passengers they may need their help. Osbon started trying to enter his code in order to re-enter the cockpit, and he banged on the door hard enough that the copilot thought he was coming through the door.  

The copilot and non-rev captain locked the cockpit door from the inside. The copilot announced over the PA system an ordered Osbon be restrained. The flight attendants were already trying to stop Osbon from entering his code. Several passengers jumped in to help and brought Osbon down in the forward galley. One female flight attendant suffered bruised ribs during the struggle. According to one of the passengers who assisted, Osbon said "pray fucking now for Jesus Christ".  

Osbon also yelled jumbled comments about Jesus, September 11th, Iraq, Iran, and terrorists. He also yelled "Guys, push it to full throttle". The copilot declared an emergency and diverted the aircraft to Amarillo. The flight attendants elected to have the aircraft land without having the assisting passengers return to their seats, because the flight attendants felt they could not risk letting Osbon get up off the floor. The aircraft landed with passengers still restraining Osbon in the galley. 

Judge Robinson ruled that Osbon has a factual and rational understanding of the charges and proceedings against him, and is able to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him, is not now suffering from a mental disease or defect which would interfere with his ability to meet the legal criteria of competency to stand trial, Osbon is legally competent to stand trial and that this case (United States Of America v. Clayton Frederick Osbon No. 2:12-Cr-017-J) should proceed on.

July 3, 2012 – Update - After reviewing evidence, Amarillo, Texas, U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson ruled that Clayton F. Osbon was not guilty by reason of insanity for his behavior on a March 27 flight from New York to Las Vegas in which he was charged with interference with a flight crew. Court documents revealed that Osbon under went a psychological evaluation after the March 27 incident and that a treating psychologist indicated Osbon’s "brief psychotic disorder" was due to lack of sleep. Osbon will undergo more evaluations at a federal mental health facility before a scheduled court hearing in August. At that time, a judge will decide whether the former pilot will be released or head to a mental facility.

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