JetBlue pilot found not guilty

Clayton F. Osbon

Clayton Osbon, the JetBlue captain who forced a plane to make an emergency landing at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport in March was found not guilty in federal court on Tuesday.

He was found not guilty by reason of insanity, according to court records.

A doctor said Osbon suffered from a severe mental disease or defect that impaired his ability to "appreciate the nature, quality or wrongfulness of his behavior at the time of the offense," according to the Findings of Fact and Verdict

The court order said he will now be transported to a federal mental health facility in Fort Worth to undergo further examination. He will return to Amarillo before July 31 in order to prepare for another hearing in August.

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It was on March 27 when a JetBlue airliner was diverted to Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport after Osbon, a pilot, become disruptive, yelling about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and racing inside the cabin, according to court records.

He was also pounding on the cockpit door, the records showed.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said the co-pilot become concerned Osbon was exhibiting erratic behavior during the flight. The captain, according to TSA, then exited the cockpit during flight.

As a result, the co-pilot locked the door and when the captain attempted to enter the cockpit, he was subdued by passengers, TSA said.

The plane, with 141 passengers and crew members, was en route from New York City to Las Vegas. No one was seriously hurt.

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Osbon was indicted by a Lubbock grand jury in April for interference of a flight crew. An attorney for Osbon filed a motion that outlined plans to argue that Osbon was insane at the time of the incident.

After viewing a sealed doctor's report,
U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson
declared Clayton F. Osbon, 49, presently competent to stand trial in June.