SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A 41-year-old Syracuse, Utah, man has been arrested and charged in a federal criminal complaint for carrying and using a straight edge razor blade during a flight Monday.
The United States Attorney’s Office filed the complaint Tuesday, charging the defendant, Merrill Darrell Fackrell, with Carrying a Weapon on an Aircraft and Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in the Special Aircraft Jurisdiction of the United States.
According to the allegations contained in the complaint and law enforcement affidavit, on November 21, Fackrell departed on JetBlue Flight #871 from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York en route to Salt Lake City International Airport in Utah. Fackrell was seated in a window seat next to married passengers.
During the flight, Fackrell placed his hand in front of the woman’s screen and told her to pause her movie. According to the complaint, the woman took off her headphones and realized Fackrell had his hand clutched with what appeared to her as a knife, inches from her skin at her throat/neck area.
Prosecutors say that the woman’s husband went to the front of the aircraft to get assistance from the flight attendant. The woman lunged for the aisle to escape, and Fackrell reached and tried to stop her by grabbing her shoulder. The object was secured and later identified as a Facon wood-handled straight-edge razor with a one-to-two-inch blade.
A federal judge issued an order Wednesday for his continued detention after prosecutors said he was a danger to himself and the public. In their motion, they said he has a history of mental illness and no permanent residence.