LawFuel.com – 29 July, 2009 – LOS ANGELES – An Orange County man has been convicted of interfering with a flight crew for abusive behavior that led a United Airlines flight crew to handcuff and duct tape the unruly passenger to his seat.
James Allen Cameron, 50, of Anaheim, was found guilty of the felony charge yesterday afternoon by a federal jury that heard about two days of witness testimony.
The same jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of guilt on a misdemeanor assault count that alleged Cameron struck an off-duty United pilot during the April 23, 2008 flight from Hong Kong to Los Angeles International Airport.
The evidence presented at the trial showed that Cameron, who had been
drinking, became agitated several hours into the flight. After an off-duty pilot took the seat next to him, Cameron attempted to get out of his seat, but the off-duty pilot stopped him by putting his hand on the defendant’s shoulder and telling him to remain seated. A few moments later, Cameron punched the off-duty pilot in the neck. Flight
attendants, a passenger and the off-duty pilot subdued Cameron, restraining his hands with flex cuffs. Shortly after that, even though he was restrained, Cameron lunged up and punched a flight attendant on the chin. The crew then held Cameron down and duct-taped his legs and chest. Even after this, Cameron managed to loosen himself, and the flight crew was forced to use seven seat belt extensions to restrain him.
After other passengers on the flight later saw Cameron biting and chewing at his restraints, the crew was forced to put metal handcuffs on his wrists.
The charge of interference with a flight crew carries a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in federal prison.
Cameron will be sentenced by United States District Judge Robert H. Whaley in the fall.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Los Angeles Airport Police Department.