Legal woes beset ‘serial stowaway” who sneaks up on flights

CHICAGO – What to do with Marilyn Hartman?

That is the question during a hearing Thursday for a 66-year-old woman dubbed the “serial stowaway” for a history of trying to sneak on a commercial aircraft without a ticket. She is sitting behind bars, not because they are confronted with costs that they slipped on a jet from Chicago to London, but to the judge who set her free, told her not to do it: They go back to the airport.

Now, two months after a judge ordered Harris held without bond, a move that is normally reserved for dangerous offenders, such as murder suspects, her attorney is expected to attempt her release from prison.

Parliament Roe-Taylor won’t say whether the mental health system have concluded Harris was legally sane as they are. Nor will they say if they found it, a psychiatric hospital or any other place to stay for Hartman.

But she says Harris doesn’t belong in prison.

“She’s not aggressive, she is not it can be demonstrated that the damage to themselves. There is no reason to take her from the society,” said Roe-Taylor, Cook County public defender’s office lawyer.

But that can happen. After years of arrests, followed by a short stay in prisons and mental health, Hartman is in big legal trouble. Because they reportedly remained in the airport’s plan to commit theft — a flight they won’t pay for — and boarded the jet for the same reason, they are confronted with a crime against a break-in, a penalty of up to seven years in prison. She is also accused of the crime of criminal trespassing.

The hearing is the latest chapter in a story that played over the past ten years in Chicago, Hawaii, San Francisco, Florida and elsewhere. It will re-display of the case of a woman who frustrates the legal system — voiced by a judge in 2016, when Hartman was arrested at O’hare International Airport after placement on the mental health of the probationary period and released into a nursing home.

“We can’t keep doing this over and over and over again,” Cook County Circuit Judge William Raines said.

Hartman is placed in and in the vicinity of airports dozens of times made, and the aircraft maybe half a dozen times. Recently she made it to the air for a flight from Chicago to London.

Why they do this is unclear. Although she declined to be interviewed for this story, she has tried to explain.

“I feel the need to be on a plane to go away,” she told Joe Eskenazi for 2015 San Francisco Magazine story.

Her life tells little.

Hartman legal run-ins don’t start until they get to middle age. A letter in a court file in Chicago, says Hartman decades was stable — high school in Chicago, training at the Chicago College of Commerce, followed by dozens of years as a legal secretary, legal research and telemarketing before they stopped work in 2003.

She never married, has no children, and it is unclear why in the 1980s she changed her last name from Stable to Hartman. She has at least two brothers in the Chicago area, but calls them back.

She was found mentally fit, although troubled, by Cook County in the mental health services in 2015. The psychiatric overview with the diagnosis of “major Depressive Disorder in full remission, and unspecified personality disorder with Anti-Social Traits”, along with “Adjustment Disorder,” according to a probation department letter that also noted she was taking an anti-depressant.

Those who have talked to her say she can be pleasant. Eskenazi said she almost sounds reasonable when they say names of people who, she says, to her, of jailhouse snitches, the former President Barack Obama.

Her personality can win people over, including officers, who over the years have given her a ticket for the train and drives to a hotel and the bus station.

With her white hair, glasses and polite behavior, she looks like a grandma.

“She’s very smart,” said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, whose mandate became acquainted with Hartman when she tried repeatedly to get past the security at the Airport of San Francisco in 2014. “She described it with one of our detectives, how she does on this role and turn motion to get through the boarding gate and on a plane.”

Her perseverance showed in January at O’hare.

“She hid her face with her hair, and walked along the (TSA) officers,” said Tandra Simonton, a Cook County State Attorney’s office spokeswoman.

Hartman tried to board a flight to Connecticut by hiding behind a passenger waiting to board the jet, Simonton said. But when she tried to slide along the passenger, the gate agent told her to sit down.

Prosecutors said she stayed in the airport and the next day to board a shuttle to the international terminal. Simonton said she somehow got on the shuttle without the required passport and airline ticket.

The following day she appeared on a fence. Then, said Simonton, “She… runs along two British Airlines ticket agents that the check of other passengers, darts in a small room to the side and walks quickly through Customs and a border patrol agent who is looking for the passports of people who have the disaster.”

Prosecutors say they then flew to London.

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