OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A man who caused a flight to be diverted to Oklahoma City in December 2021 has pleaded guilty to interference with a flight attendant.
Around 7 p.m. on December 9, 2021, a Delta flight traveling from Arlington, Virginia to Los Angeles made an emergency landing at Will Rogers World Airport due to an unruly passenger, 35-year-old Ariel James Pennington of L.A.
MSgt. Gary Knight with the Oklahoma City Police Department told KFOR back in December 2021 that Pennington appeared to be intoxicated and, “very belligerent.”
“We ultimately put him in jail on public drunk and disorderly conduct charges,” said Knight.
In a press release from U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester for the Western District of Oklahoma, on January 18, 2022 a federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment against Pennington. The first count alleged that Pennington assaulted and intimidated a flight attendant. The second count alleged that Pennington assaulted a Federal Air Marshal.
On April 6, 2022, Pennington pleaded guilty to the first count.
Pennington faces a maximum sentence of 20 years and a fine of $250,000, followed by up to three years of supervised release. Part of the plea agreement included the dismissal of the second count.
Pennington’s sentencing date will be set by the court in about 90 days.