BOSTON (WWLP) – A federal grand jury has indicted a Leominster man on charges stemming from his behavior on a plane in March.
Francisco Severo Torres, 33, was arrested at Logan International Airport in Boston on March 6, 2023 after he allegedly tried to open an emergency exit door during a United Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Boston, and when confronted, allegedly tried to stab a flight attendant.
He was indicted in a Boston Federal court Wednesday on one count of interference and attempted interference with flight crew members and attendants using a dangerous weapon.
Prosecutors say about 45 minutes before landing the flight crew were notified by an alarm in the cockpit that a side door between the first class and coach sections had been disarmed. A flight attendant found that the door’s locking handle had been moved out of the fully locked position and into the “disarmed” position, and notified the captain and other flight crew.
Another flight attendant said they saw Torres near the door and believed he had moved the door handle. Torres was approached about tampering with the door, and he allegedly asked if there were cameras proving their claim. According to court documents, the flight attendant then notified the captain that they believed Torres was a threat and that the plane should be landed as soon as possible.
Witnesses say that Torres got out of his seat again and approached the two flight attendants who were standing near the door. Video taken by a passenger allegedly shows Torres yelling that he would “kill every man on this plane” and “I’m taking over this plane.” He then allegedly moved toward one of the flight attendants in a stabbing motion with a broken metal spoon, hitting the flight attendant on the neck area three times. Several passengers apprehended Torres and helped the crew keep him restrained until landing. Torres was taken into custody after the plane landed.
If found guilty, Torres could face a sentence of up to life in prison, up to five years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.