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Press Release

Georgia Man Admits Interfering With Flight Crew During Flight From Atlanta To Pittsburgh

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

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - A resident of Georgia pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of violating federal laws, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Marc Anthony Malone, 34, of Hogansville, GA, pleaded guilty to one count of interfering with a flight crew before United States District Senior Judge Gustave Diamond.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that on October 10, 2012, Malone was onboard an AirTran flight from Atlanta, Ga., to Pittsburgh, Pa. Approximately 30 minutes into the flight, Malone began acting erratically. At one point during the flight, Malone asked a flight crew member, "Where are we?" Upon hearing that the plane was on its way to Pittsburgh, Malone stated "I need to get off now," and attempted to get to the front of the aircraft. One of the flight attendants tried to calm Malone and asked him to sit in his seat, at which point, Malone continued to leave his seat, stating "Why are you mad at me?" Shortly thereafter, Malone attempted to force his way to the front of the plane, at which point two flight attendants physically stopped him, and Malone yelled "F- you!" over and over. As Malone refused to comply with commands to return to his seat, he attempted to get to the front of the plane by pushing a flight attendant with his hands, knocking the attendant backward. At that time two flight attendants and five passengers wrestled Malone to the ground to restrain him and place flex cuffs on him. While Malone kicked and attempted to bite those that attempted to restrain him, Malone yelled, "I'm going to get you! When I get out of here, I can't wait to get a hold of you!" As such, Malone had to be restrained by flight crew members for the duration of the plane's landing instead of being able to attend to their normal duties.

Judge Diamond scheduled sentencing for May 8, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. The law provides for a total maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the court continued Malone on bond.

Assistant United States Attorney James T. Kitchen is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Malone.

Updated July 14, 2015