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Man Sentenced in Assault Aboard Plane

August 8, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ A Nevada man who hit an off-duty crew member aboard a commuter flight cannot fly for six months, then must have his probation officer verify he is mentally fit before he can board a plane, a judge ruled.

Joseph Pervis Hebert, 48, must notify the airline and his probation officer before flying for the rest of his five-year probation. U.S. District Judge Gregory Frost also ordered Hebert to pay a $5,000 fine and about $2,700 in restitution at his sentencing Friday.

Hebert, whose address authorities have given as Elko and Spring Creek, Nev., pleaded guilty in May to a charge of assault on board an aircraft.

Prosecutors said Hebert grabbed an off-duty crew member seated in front of him about 40 minutes after Continental Flight 8820 took off from Cleveland on March 10. He threatened to kill the crew member and said he wanted the plane to return to Cleveland, prosecutors said.

Hebert hit the crew member and moved toward the cockpit before passengers and off-duty crew members restrained him in an empty seat, authorities said.

The pilot diverted the plane, bound for Cincinnati, to Port Columbus International Airport, where Hebert was arrested by airport police. The off-duty crew member who was struck was not seriously hurt.

The judge ordered Hebert to continue mental health treatment and take all medication prescribed for him.

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