August 24, 2012
UPDATE: This afternoon U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Wantanabe ordered Covington detained without bond pending a resolution of his case. Covington was found by the Magistrate Judge to be a danger to the community and a risk of flight.
Man who interfered with flight crew on JetBlue flight from New York to California indicted by federal grand jury
DENVER – A federal grand jury in Denver returned a two-count indictment yesterday charging Marcus Covington, age 32, with Interference with a Flight Crew and abusive sexual contact on an aircraft, United States Attorney John Walsh and FBI Special Agent in Charge James Yacone announced. The indictment formalizes the charges against the defendant. Covington is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Denver tomorrow afternoon for arraignment and a detention hearing.
On August 19, 2012, Covington intimidated a flight crew member and a flight attendant on JetBlue Flight 677, an Airbus A-320, carrying approximately 150 passengers, which was flying from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to Los Angeles International Airport. Covington also groped a 27 year-old pregnant female.
As a result of his assaultive and intimidating behavior, an FBI special agent, who was traveling on the flight as a passenger, was asked by flight crew to assist in dealing with Covington. Following consultation with the FBI agent and the Captain of JetBlue Flight 677, the Captain decided to divert the flight to Denver International Airport. The FBI agent and another passenger sat next to Covington to keep him under control while the plane made this unscheduled landing. While seated, the agent noticed Covington taking a number of unidentifiable pills.
Upon the aircraft’s arrival at the gate, Covington was escorted off the plane in handcuffs. While Denver Police Department officers were attempting to get Covington to sit in a chair, he kicked at, and spit on them while threatening to kill them.
If convicted, Covington faces not more than 20 years in federal prison for interference with flight crew members and attendants. He faces not more than 2 years imprisonment for abusive sexual contact on an aircraft.
This case was investigated by the Denver Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Covington is being prosecuted by James Allison, Chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Colorado.
The charges contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.