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Press Release

Utah Man Charged with Assault with Dangerous Weapon on a JetBlue Flight from New York to Salt Lake City

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Utah

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A 41-year-old Syracuse, Utah man has been arrested and charged in a federal criminal complaint for carrying and using a straight edge razor blade during a flight Monday, November 21, 2022.

The United States Attorney’s Office filed the complaint Tuesday, November 22, 2022, charging the defendant, Merrill Darrell Fackrell with Carrying a Weapon on an Aircraft and Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in the Special Aircraft Jurisdiction of the United States.

According to the allegations contained in the complaint and law enforcement affidavit, on November 21, 2022, Fackrell departed on JetBlue Flight #871 from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York en route to Salt Lake City International Airport in Utah.  Fackrell was seated in a window seat next to married passengers. During the flight, Fackrell placed his hand in front of the woman’s screen and told her to pause her movie. According to the complaint, the woman took off her headphones and realized Fackrell had his hand clutched with what appeared to her as a knife, inches from her skin at her throat/neck area. The woman’s husband went to the front of the aircraft to get assistance from the flight attendant. The woman lunged for the aisle to escape and Fackrell reached and tried to stop her by grabbing her shoulder. The object was secured and later identified as a Facon wood-handled straight edge razor with a one-to-two-inch blade.

Assistant United States Attorney Michael Kennedy from the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah is prosecuting the case. The case is being investigated by Salt Lake City Police Department and an FBI Task Force Officer.

A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


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Felicia Martinez
Public Affairs Specialist
(385) 258-1490

Updated November 23, 2022

Violent Crime