BANGOR, Maine — A Florida man charged with causing a trans-Atlantic flight to be diverted to Bangor 18 days ago walked out of a federal courthouse Friday to live under house arrest with his girlfriend’s parents in the tiny community of Matamoras, Pa.
Derek Stansberry, 27, of Riverview, Fla., was released on $20,000 unsecured bail to stay with the parents of Jillian Krause, age and address unknown. Matamoras is the easternmost town in Pennsylvania, where the Keystone State borders New Jersey and New York. It had a population of 2,612 in 2008, according to the website city-data.com.
Krause’s parent are not identified in court documents and the couple did not appear in U.S. District Court in Bangor. U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk said the Pennsylvania location would allow Stansberry to drive rather than fly to court appearances in Bangor.
Stansberry left the courthouse on Harlow Street with his attorney, Federal Public Defender Virginia Villa. They, along with Krause, declined to speak to the press.
He got into a silver Honda CRV with Pennsylvania license plates inside a license plate holder that read, “Alumni Penn State.” A couple, identified by Villa as relatives of Stansberry, left the courthouse with his suitcase but did not speak to the press. The man was not Stansberry’s father, Richard Stansberry, who was interviewed by television stations in Florida last month.
Stansberry’s conditions of release include wearing an electronic monitor, undergoing a psychological evaluation as an outpatient, not possessing a gun, destructive device or other dangerous weapon and not traveling outside Pennsylvania except with prior approval by an officer with the U.S. Probation and Pre-trial Services. He also was required to surrender his passport.
On Wednesday, Kravchuk found Stansberry competent to assist in his own defense. She asked him several questions Friday to determine if he was aware of what was happening in the courtroom. He answered, “Yes, ma’am,” or “Yes, your honor,” as he had two days before.
Although federal prosecutors last month filed a motion to hold Stansberry without bail pending the outcome of his case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Lowell on Friday said his office did not object to the conditions of Stansberry’s release.
Lowell declined to comment on Stansberry’s release. It is the practice of the U.S. Attorney’s Office not to comment on cases until they have been concluded.
Stansberry’s next court appearance has not been set. If he were to be indicted by a federal grand jury later this month, he could be back in Maine for arraignment before the end of the month. On the other hand, the case might not be resolved before fall.
Prosecutors allege that on April 27 Stansberry passed a note to a member of the flight crew that said he had a fake passport. When questioned by federal air marshals, he told them he had dynamite in a laptop in his backpack, according to court documents. The Paris-to-Atlanta Delta Air Lines flight ended up landing at Bangor International Airport.
Stansberry’s travel papers were in order, and there was no dynamite, according to court documents. He has been charged with providing false information and making threats, as well as interfering with a flight crew. Stansberry told investigators he took eight Ambien pills before boarding the plane. Ambien is commonly used by travelers to sleep on long flights.
The former intelligence specialist, who left the U.S. Air Force with an honorable discharge, had been working for Eatontown, N.J.-based R4 Inc. and was performing military-to-military cooperation activities in west African nation Burkina Faso, according to previously published reports. He was returning to his home in Riverview, a suburb of Tampa, Fla., when the alleged incident occurred.
If convicted, Stansberry faces up to 20 years in prison on the interference charge and up to five years in prison on the charge of making false statements and threats. He could be fined up to $250,000 on each count.
In addition, Stansberry could be ordered to reimburse Delta Air Lines for the cost of the flight diversion and the expense of putting the passengers and crew up overnight in Bangor motels.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.