Feb. 16, 2010
ALABAMA MAN CHARGED WITH INTERFERING WITH A FLIGHT CREW AND ASSAULTING FEDERAL AIR MARSHAL
(HOUSTON) – A 47-year-old Alabama man has been arrested and charged with interfering with a flight crew aboard a Continental Airlines flight, assault and assaulting a federal air marshal, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
Robert Wade Prince, 47, of Alabama, was taken into federal custody on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2010, upon arriving at Bush International Airport Houston (IAH) aboard a Continental flight inbound to Houston from Amsterdam. The criminal complaint filed yesterday alleges Prince had became boisterous and was yelling loudly despite repeated admonitions by the flight crew to cease. Prince is also alleged to have grabbed a female flight attendant by the arm. After a female passenger seated next to Prince complained about Prince inappropriately touching her and his yelling, a male flight attendant asked a federal air marshal to exchange seats with the female passenger. Prince allegedly attempted to block the air marshal from taking the seat. After the air marshal identified himself as a federal officer, Prince allegedly struck the air marshal about the torso twice. Prince was restrained and as a result of his unwillingness to cooperate had to be forcibly removed to the crew rest area of the plane. For the remainder of the flight, the complaint alleges Prince was belligerent and verbally abusive to the air marshal.
Prince, who has remained in custody since his Saturday arrest, is expected to appear before United States Magistrate Judge Mary Milloy this afternoon. The issue of bond is expected to be raised and perhaps decided.
Interfering with flight crew members and attendants carries a punishment range of up to 20 years upon conviction while assaulting an officer carries a maximum punishment of eight years imprisonment. Both offenses are also punishable by fines of up to $250,000 each. The third charge – assault - carries a maximum punishment of six months incarceration and a $5,000 fine.
The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the Houston office of the FBI. Assistant United States Attorney Suzanne Elmilady and Joseph Magliolo are prosecuting the case.A criminal complaint is merely an accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.
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