JetBlue pilot not guilty by reason of insanity

AMARILLO, Texas - (AP) - A federal judge in Texas found a JetBlue Airways pilot who left the cockpit during a flight and screamed about religion and terrorists not guilty by reason of insanity Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson in Amarillo issued the ruling during a bench trial for Clayton F. Osbon, noting he suffered from a "severe mental disease or defect." Osbon's attorney, Dean Roper, declined to comment.

Osbon, who recently was found mentally competent to stand trial after a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation, will be sent to a federal mental health facility for further examination until another hearing on or before Aug. 6. The judge will decide then whether he can be released or should be committed to a mental facility.

Osbon was indicted on one charge of interfering with a flight crew after the March 27 incident on flight from Las Vegas to New York. Passengers say they wrestled him to the floor after he ran through the plane's cabin yelling about Jesus and al-Qaida.

Next month's hearing puts the burden on Osbon to show "by clear and convincing evidence" that his release would not pose future danger, according to the court records.

JetBlue spokeswoman Alison Croyle said Tuesday that the airline "continues to support the Osbon family; we don't have further comment as we let the judicial process play out."

"We can confirm he is still employed, on inactive status, with JetBlue," she said.

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