The JetBlue pilot who upset a flight in March 27 has been declared by a federal judge to be innocent by reason of insanity. A psychologist assessed Clayton Frederick Osborn, 49, and testified that he “suffered from a severe mental disease or defect that impaired his ability.” While it is not clear what mental illness Clayton suffers by, this judgment saves him from the potential 20 years he could have served in prison for disrupting the flight.
On the March 27 flight, the co-pilot cued in on Osborn’s erratic behavior when he talked about his church and about Afghanistan, and when he yelled over the radio to air control traffic controllers that “things just don’t matter.” He also announced that “We’re not going to Vegas,” and said that “We’re going to have to take a leap of faith.”
When Osborn left to go to the bathroom, the co-pilot called in an off-duty pilot and locked Osborn out. Osborn ran down the aisle after this and tried to get into the cockpit. The co-pilot called over the PA system for the passengers to restrain Osborn, which they did, as the flight was diverted to Amarillo.
U.S. District judge Mary Lou Robinson of Amarillo, Texas, accepted the psychological report that said “at the time of the commission of the offense, the defendant appeared to suffer from a severe mental disease or defect that impaired hi ability to appreciate the nature, quality, or wrongfulness of his behavior.”
He is staying at “low-security” federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas, until he is determined to be safe to go home. Federal Laws can keep a person not guilty by reason of insanity for an indefinite time till they establish they are ready for release.
Meanwhile, a few passengers on flight have filed suit against JetBlue accusing them of gross negligence for not screening against these sorts of pilots.