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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Utah Man Sentenced to Prison for Interfering with Phoenix to New York Flight Crew

PITTSBURGH - A resident of Mapleton, Utah has been sentenced in federal court to twelve months and one day imprisonment for interference with flight crew members and attendants, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

United States District Judge Mark R. Hornak imposed the sentence on Steven Douglas Pectol, 40, of Mapleton, Utah.

According to information presented to the court, on October 11, 2015, Pectol interfered with the flight crew of US Airways Flight 632 by assaulting and intimidating the flight attendants and crew by disregarding instructions to remain in his seat, making threatening statements, attempting to physically force his way to the front galley of the airplane while pushing one of the attendants, and needing to be physically restrained by attendants and passengers as the plane landed while the defendant attempted to kick and head-butt attendants as he was being restrained. As a result of the defendant’s actions, US Airways Flight 632, flying from Phoenix, AZ to New York, NY, had to be diverted to Pittsburgh International Airport.

Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Hornak stated that the defendant’s recent criminal history had indicated a gradual elevation in degree and that his sentence needed to reflect the seriousness of the offense, the need to protect the public from further crimes of the defendant, and the need to promote respect for the law.

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

U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Air Marshals for the investigation leading to the prosecution of Pectol.

Updated February 17, 2016