Defendant with E Cigarette Pleads Innocence About Interfering with Flight Crew

After hitting flight crew and singing about Osama bin Laden on a flight to Houston on Tuesday, the arrested 19-year old has pleaded to not being guilty at interfering with the flight crew at the Portland U.S. District Court.

Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Mohammad Abunayyan’s lawyer had stated that his client was suffering from some mental health issues, and didn’t pursue the matter further. However according to  Abunayyan’s cousin information to the Ashland Daily Tidings, Abunayyan suffers from schizophrenia, but has stopped taking any medications for the problem.

However attorney Phil Lewis didn’t seek the immediate release of his client and the U.S. Magistrate Judge, Janice M. Stewart ordered that the victim remain detained for now as a flight risk, and had set another trial date on April 24th.

According to the authorities, Abunayyan had boarded a Houston Continental flight from Portland International Airport and after taking off, he took out and smoked an electronic cigarette. This cigarette uses a lithium battery to heat the liquid nicotine solution in it so that a vapor is created for inhaling.

However, when a flight attendant requested that he turned it off, he refuted the request and started to yell profanities and swinging his fist at fellow passengers and the flight crew. According to a federal indictment, he had also started singing and yelling about Osama bin Ladan. All this made the plane turn back around, and land in Portland where he was finally arrested.

All this happened only a day after Abunayyan was released from a Jackson Country jail. Basically, Abunayyan was a student studying English since September at the Sonoma State American Language Institute. It was while visiting his Ashland cousin that he was arrested on Sunday for drunk and reckless driving that endangered other people. He also faced other charges for leading police on a low-speed car chase, and for hitting two police cars, which lead to his arrest.

It was after paying $6,500 as bail that Abunayyan left the Jackson Country Jail on Monday. According to the Jackson County District Attorney, Mark Huddleston, the evidence will be presented to a grand jury the next week to decide whether to proceed with the formal charges placed against Abunayyan as Abunayyan’s blood alcohol content was 0.08.

Huddleston stated that as Abunayyan’s departure violated the terms of his bail, as he had to seek court permission before leaving the state, the grand jury may be asked to consider a contempt of court charge, along with other charges.