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Tuesday, October 21, 2014         

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Doctor: Lack of sleep prompted pilot's breakdown

By Betsy Blaney

Associated Press

POSTED:


LUBBOCK, Texas >> A psychologist testified that a JetBlue Airways pilot who screamed about religion and terrorists during a flight had "a brief psychotic disorder" due to lack of sleep, according to a transcript of the trial obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday.

A judge found Clayton Osbon not guilty by reason of insanity during a brief and unpublicized trial earlier this month in Texas. Osbon had been charged with interference with a flight crew for his behavior on a March 27 flight from New York to Las Vegas.

Passengers said they wrestled the pilot to the floor after he ran through the plane's cabin yelling about Jesus and al-Qaida. The flight was diverted and safely landed in Texas.

According to the court transcripts, forensic neuropsychologist Robert E.H. Johnson testified that Osbon's disorder lasted about a week after the incident. Johnson didn't specify how long Osborn may have gone without sleep, and his psychiatric evaluation was sealed during the trial, but he said he determined Osbon suffered from brief psychotic disorder and delusions "secondary to sleep deprivation."

Osborn, who was taken to a mental health facility after the flight, could not appreciate the nature and quality of his actions and he didn't appreciate their wrongfulness, Johnson testified.

JetBlue declined to comment on the psychologist's testimony, citing no medical authority on the topic. But company spokeswoman Sharon Jones said Osbon did not fly March 24 or March 25, and worked a round-trip flight March 26 that gave him 17 hours of off time leading into the flight March 27.

Osbon is at a mental health facility in Fort Worth. Court records show he is scheduled for another hearing early next month where the burden will be on him to show "by clear and convincing evidence" that his release would not pose future danger.






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