Bail hearing continued for sisters charged in flight fracas

Posted: Friday, April 27, 2001

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- A bail hearing was continued Thursday for identical twin sisters arrested for disrupting a flight to China last week.

Crystal and Cynthia Mikula, 22, of Buckley, Mich., are being held on charges of interfering with a flight crew, a felony that carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

United Flight 857 from San Francisco to Shanghai was diverted to Anchorage last Thursday after the sisters allegedly drank too many drinks, began swearing at each other, smoked in the aircraft restroom and tussled with the flight crew.

The sisters sat quietly during the 40-minute bail hearing Thursday, both dressed in blue jail suits.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Charlie Brown asked U.S. Magistrate John Roberts to order Crystal Mikula held without bail, saying she had no relatives in Anchorage, no money, no place to stay and had problems controlling her anger.

''There are no reasonable alternatives at this time that would protect the people of this city from this lady,'' Brown said.

Crystal Mikula's attorney, Mary Geddes, said her client was only trying to intervene when her sister was being handcuffed by members of the flight crew. Geddes sought to have her client released on her own recognizance.

Geddes suggested Crystal could stay at a youth hostel or the Salvation Army residence, reporting twice a day to a probation officer at the federal courthouse.

But Magistrate Roberts said Crystal Mikula needed more than just a place to stay.

''I think there needs to be somebody out there that looks after her,'' Roberts said.

Crystal Mikula's bail hearing was continued until late Friday afternoon while arrangements were being made for possible release in the custody of a third party.

Cynthia Mikula's attorney, Ray Brown, asked that his client's bail hearing be continued until Tuesday.

Brown also asked that the court ensure that Cynthia receive medical attention for a wrist injury. She was suffering pain and numbness and, despite repeated requests, had not received medical care, Brown said.

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