Judge declares 'serial stowaway' unfit for trial

Posted at 3:21 PM, Mar 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-29 15:21:05-04

CHICAGO (AP) — A woman dubbed a "serial stowaway" for repeatedly trying to sneak onto commercial jets without a ticket has been ruled unfit for trial, a judge ruled Thursday.

Cook County Judge Maura Slattery Boyle ordered Marilyn Hartman, 66, to be sent to a secured mental health facility in Elgin, near Chicago. The ruling comes after psychologists for the defense and prosecution recommended Hartman undergo mental health treatment.

Hartman has been nabbed in and near airports dozens of times and made it onto planes half a dozen times. She recently made it into the air on a flight from Chicago to London and was subsequently charged with felony criminal trespass and felony burglary.

Portions of Hartman's mental evaluations read aloud in court Thursday included a long list of her mental health problems. Psychologist Christopher Cooper described Hartman as an "intelligent woman" and said she understands the charges against her. But, he said, Hartman suffers from major depression, delusions she is being persecuted and a "preoccupation with media attention."

Hartman's mental stability was "intermittent and appears to fluctuate day to day," Cooper said.

Prosecutors said Hartman tried to walk out of an interview room when she was left unattended during an evaluation and was seen trying to open locked doors at a jail health facility.

Hartman's public defender, Parle Roe-Taylor, has argued that Hartman doesn't belong in jail because she isn't violent and hasn't demonstrated she's a harm to herself.

Hartman will be evaluated every 30 days to see if she is deemed fit for trial. If so, her criminal proceedings will resume. If she's not restored to mental fitness within a year she could be found not guilty by reason of insanity.