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Passenger pleads guilty in June air-rage incident

Posted: Sunday, July 28, 2002

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- A Georgia man has pleaded guilty to charges he disrupted a Northwest Airlines flight to Japan in June, forcing pilots to divert the aircraft to Anchorage.

William E. Mullis, 47, became unruly on the June 13 flight bound for Osaka from Detroit. Mullis, of Savannah, Ga., was originally charged with interfering with a flight crew, but prosecutors reduced it to simple assault because no one was hurt.

Mullis entered his guilty plea Friday in federal court. He was released on his own recognizance.

According to an FBI affidavit, Mullis consumed three drinks and another bottle of alcohol he brought on board, walked around the plane when he wasn't supposed to, kissed babies, swore at people, smoked in the restroom and threatened a flight attendant.

Mullis' sentencing was set for Sept. 17. He faces a maximum sentence of six months in prison, five years probation and a $5,000 fine. He also might have to pay restitution to Northwest Airlines because pilots had to dump 8,148 gallons of fuel to land in Anchorage.

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