Prosecutors want JetBlue captain held without bond

BETSY BLANEY Associated Press Published:

AMARILLO, Texas (AP) -- A JetBlue Airways captain charged with disrupting a Las Vegas-bound flight after he left the cockpit screaming about religion and terrorists should remain in federal custody without bond, prosecutors told a judge Monday.

Clayton Osbon smiled at his wife and JetBlue employees who watched his first federal court appearance, but did not speak other than to tell the judge he understood his rights and the charges against him.

Osbon, 49, was not asked to enter a plea. A judge is expected to rule on the bond issue Thursday.

Osbon has remained in Texas since the plane he was piloting last Tuesday was forced to make an emergency landing there following his bizarre unraveling. Passengers wrestled him to the ground after witnesses said he ran through the cabin yelling about Jesus and al-Qaida, and then restrained him with seat belt extenders.

He was taken to an Amarillo hospital for a medical evaluation and remained there for several days. It was not immediately clear where he was being held Monday.

Prosecutors have charged Osbon with interfering with a flight crew. Under federal law, a conviction can bring up to 20 years in prison.

Osbon wore street clothes in the courtroom but his feet were shackled. His attorney, Dean Roper, declined to comment after the hearing.

Osbon's wife, Connye Osbon, released a statement through the airline Sunday saying the in-flight outburst "wasn't intentionally violent toward anyone" and asked the media to respect their family's privacy.

Longtime friends and fellow pilots have said they don't recall Clayton Osbon having any previous mental or health problems.

Investigators say Osbon told his co-pilot "things just don't matter" and incoherently rambled about religion shortly after the flight departed from New York. His behavior became more erratic as the flight wore on, prosecutors say, and ended with a tense struggle in the cabin after Osbon abruptly left the cockpit.

A flight attendant's ribs were bruised while trying to restrain Osbon, but no one on board was seriously hurt.