Bruised suspect appears in court for initial appearance
DENVER ” A man who allegedly tried opening an emergency door during a United Airlines flight between Chicago and Sacramento, Calif., said he had a phone inside of him that was a bomb ready to explode, according to an arrest affidavit released Tuesday.
Jose Manuel Pelayo-Ortega, 36, also made his initial appearance before a U.S. District Judge Michael Watanabe who appointed a public defender and approved prosecutors’ request that he be detained until a court hearing Friday.
Pelayo-Ortega, whose hometown was not immediately available, faces a charge of interference with a flight crew.
Pelayo-Ortega, who was wearing a neck brace and still bruised days after Friday’s incident, told Watanabe “I was seeing visions,” according to KUSA-TV.
An arrest affidavit said Pelayo-Ortega entered the first-class section from coach, went to some bathrooms near the cockpit then made the sign of the cross before trying to open an emergency exit.
A female flight attendant grabbed Pelayo-Ortega by the shirt and a passenger sitting nearby got up and placed Pelayo-Ortega in a headlock, while another passenger grabbed Pelayo-Ortega’s arms. Several other passengers joined in the scuffle, eventually handcuffing and duct taping Pelayo-Ortega’s legs.
“Kill me, kill me, I have a phone inside of me. It is a bomb, it will go off anytime” Pelayo-Ortega is quoted as saying during the struggle.
Other passengers heard him make references to 9/11, “the towers” and that “your religion won’t save you.”
Two of three Secret Service agents on their way to Sacramento, where President Bush was visiting, helped detain Pelayo-Ortega, according to the affidavit. The plane was diverted to Denver International Airport where it landed safely.
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