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Florida Man Sentenced for In-Flight Brawl

November 15, 1996

MANCHESTER, England (AP) _ A Florida man who became so drunk and violent on a trans-Atlantic flight that fellow passengers overpowered him and broke his nose was sentenced to two years in prison Thursday.

The judge said he wished he could make the sentence longer.

James Mullahy, 37, of Palm Coast, Fla., was arrested at Manchester Airport on Oct. 15 after becoming disorderly on a Virgin Atlantic flight from Orlando, Fla.

``The maximum sentence for people who behave in this way on an aircraft is two years,″ said Judge Anthony Ensor. ``That is totally inappropriate and I call for a review of the maximum sentence.″

Prosecutors said Mullahy spent the first four hours of the nine-hour flight drinking, then marched up and down the aisle swearing, waving his fists and talking about God before being overpowered.

The judge said this ``flight from hell″ case highlighted the problem of serving alcohol to airline passengers.

Defense attorney Leonard Webster said Mullahy was very sorry for his behavior and realized he should not have mixed alcohol with the anti-depressant medication he was taking.

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