Man convicted of assault on an aircraft

Posted: Friday, November 02, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A North Carolina man was convicted of assault on an aircraft Thursday in federal court.

Earl Quincy Washington, 52, of Halifax, N.C., was charged after Northwest Flight 69 from Detroit to Osaka, Japan, was diverted on Aug. 21 to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

Prosecutors said Washington verbally threatened a woman traveling with her 10-year-old grandchild with physical violence. Cornelia Saulter of Raleigh, North Carolina told the court Washington was irritated with her grandchild, claiming she was kicking his seat. Saulter said that, after several exchanges, Washington turned and threatened to punch both Saulter and her granddaughter in the face and uttered racial epithets.

Washington took the stand during the trial and admitted to threatening another passenger with physical violence, ultimately forcing that passenger to change his seat.

After a short bench trial, Federal Magistrate Judge Harry Branson found Washington guilty of assaulting the three passengers and imposed a sentence of 72 days for the time Washington has already served.

Washington could have faced a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a fine of $5,000.

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