A JetBlue pilot has suffered a psychotic episode in prison and officials will now assess his mental state further before his final sentencing, a Texas federal judge announced Wednesday.
The pilot, Clayton Osbon, had been charged with interference with a flight crew after his bizarre behavior forced a JetBlue flight to make an emergency landing in March. The charge carried up to 20 years in prison if found guilty, however, a court found him not guilty in July by reason of insanity.
Osbon, 49, was piloting a JetBlue flight from New York City to Las Vegas on March 27 when he started ranting incoherently, sparking anxious scenes among flight attendants and passengers.
The pilot allegedly told his first officer suddenly that they were not going to Las Vegas anymore but were heading for Iraq, Iran and started talking about al-Qaeda. The first officer managed to remove Osbon from the flight deck, but the pilot then started running around the cabin screaming and speaking incoherently until flight attendants and other passengers managed to subdue him.
The first officer safely landed the plane in an emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas and Osbon was immediately arrested.
Osbon's continued bizarre behavior in prison has now prompted U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson to rule that a court-ordered evaluation be extended to October 15. The assessment was initially due to be completed this week.
It has been reported that a psychologist assessing Osbon had requested an extension to the evaluation period due to further unusual behavior. The request was agreed to by both Osbon's legal representatives and federal prosecutors.
Following Osbon's not guilty ruling the judge asked for a report on his mental state so that it could be assessed whether his release would cause risk to others or to property, according to Reuters. Following the report the judge was expected to either commit Osbon into a secure mental asylum, or rule he be released from custody.