Cynthia Mikula remains in jail after asking to go home

Posted: Wednesday, May 02, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Cynthia Mikula lost a bid Tuesday to leave Alaska and return home to Michigan, where her lawyer said her parents would provide round-the-clock supervision.

Cynthia Mikula and twin sister Crystal Mikula have been jailed since April 20 on charges of interfering with a flight crew aboard a United jet bound from San Francisco to Shanghai.

Prosecutors say the 22-year-old women, who were on their way to a modeling competition, drank too much, smoked in the airplane's bathroom, began feuding with each other, and then punched crew members who intervened.

Cynthia Mikula was restrained with plastic handcuffs after she allegedly struck three crew members and spit on a fourth. Her sister jumped on the back of a flight attendant and put him in a choke hold in an attempt to keep her sister from being restrained, according to the FBI.

Lawyer Mauri Long asked U.S. Magistrate John Roberts to release Cynthia Mikula to her parents' custody. She said her client has always showed up in the past for her court hearings. The Detroit Free Press reported that the Mikula sisters have been in trouble for shoplifting, traffic violations and underage possession of alcohol.

Roberts refused to release Cynthia Mikula, citing concerns about the parents' ability to control her.

''I would not be prepared to accept somebody sight unseen in a case of this type,'' Roberts said. He scheduled another hearing for Friday. Roberts said that should give corrections officials in Michigan time to do a home visit and interview the parents. The young women live with their parents in Buckley, a town of 550 people.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Charlie Brown again asked that Cynthia Mikula be held without bail. He said if she was released to her parents, he wanted the sisters to have no contact with each other.

''This whole incident started with these two fighting,'' he said. ''We would ask that only one of them gets to go home.''

Roberts apparently agreed, saying, ''I guess it is first-come, first-served.''

On Friday, the magistrate refused to release Crystal Mikula to a third-party custodian in Anchorage. She wanted to stay at a Salvation Army residence in downtown Anchorage. Roberts said he wanted tighter supervision and gave her the option of being released to a halfway house. Crystal Mikula declined that offer.

Crystal's defense attorney, Michael Taggert, said if she remained in jail she would get credit for time served if she was found guilty.

Interfering with a flight crew is a federal felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.



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