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Ukrainian man will remain in Utah jail before trial

Published December 3, 2012 1:44 pm

Courts • Magistrate judge says man who tried to open plane door is a flight risk.
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A Ukrainian native who disrupted a flight at Salt Lake City International Airport will remain in the Davis County jail after a Utah judge said Monday he was still concerned the man might try to flee the country.

Attorneys for Anatoliy Baranovich, 46, wanted U.S. Magistrate Judge Dustin Pead to free their client so he could rejoin in his family in Oregon while awaiting trial. Robert K. Hunt of the Utah Federal Defender's Office said Pead could require electronic monitoring and restrict Baranovich's ability to work as a long-haul trucker to reduce concerns he might not show up for trial. Hunt pointed out Baranovich, who has a limited understanding of English, had no prior history of mental illness or psychosis until that fateful flight.

"He needs their support," Hunt said, referring to Baranovich's wife and two sons, who were present during the hearing.

Baranovich was arrested in October after he became agitated, began yelling in Russian that a wing was on fire, and tried to open an emergency door as a Delta plane landed in Utah. Baranovich said in a previous court hearing said he was returning from the Ukraine and had been drunk through out his 50-day visit there. He then had more drinks while traveling.

Federal investigators later found he was carrying 19 passports with him and had a significant sum of money. Police had to use a Taser on Baranovich after he became combative while being booked into the Davis County Jail.

Michael P. Kennedy of the U.S. Attorney's Office apologized to the court for misstatements made by an FBI agent at a prior hearing. Kennedy said the agent was not involved in a tussle with Baranovich at the airport. Also, it was incorrect that some passports in Baranovich's possession belonged to people had live or had been in the U.S., confusion Kennedy attributed to the individuals having similar names.

He said Baranovich became agitated while in police custody after talking to his son, not before. But that argued against releasing him, he said. Kennedy said that a mental health assessment ordered by Pead raised concerns that Baranovich might suffer additional bouts of paranoia and psychosis, especially if he was allowed to return to long-haul driving. A bigger concern, Kennedy said, was the lack of significant ties Baranovich has to Utah and to the U.S., which make him a flight risk — especially given the possibility of a prison sentence.

Pead said he had yet to hear a plausible explanation for why Baranovich had the passports. He also said he was concerned about misstatements Baranovich apparently made on his application for refugee status in the U.S.

While his outburst appears to be an anomaly, Pead said he heard nothing to alleviate his concerns Baranovich might try to flee before trial.


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