Man sentenced after getting unruly on Frontier flight to Miami, duct-taped to seat
A man who flight attendants duct-taped to a seat onboard a Frontier Airlines flight into Miami from Philadelphia was sentenced Tuesday to 60 days in jail followed by one year of supervised release.
Maxwell Berry must surrender by Aug. 1, exactly one year after his arrest.
6:00 p.m. report:
A flight attendant is outraged by what he believes is a lenient sentence that was handed down to a man who punched him and groped a couple of his colleagues onboard a Frontier Airlines flight last year.
A Miami-Dade police report obtained by Local 10 News said the incident started after Berry was drinking alcohol and groped a couple flight attendants’ breasts.
The report said Berry had gone into the airplane’s bathroom after spilling an alcoholic drink on his shirt and then came out of the bathroom “shirtless.” A flight attendant told him to put on a shirt and then helped him get a clean one from his carry-on bag, according to the report.
After walking throughout the plane for “about 15 minutes,” he then “began to get friendly with a second flight attendant, where he proceeded to grope her breasts,” the arrest report stated.
That flight attendant allegedly told him to sit down and not touch her. According to the report, he then came behind two flight attendants and groped their breasts.
After a male flight attendant asked him “several times to calm down and remain seated,” the report said that he punched the attendant in the face “with a closed fist.” Nearby passengers restrained Berry and he was “taped down to the seat and tied with a seatbelt extender for the remaining flight,” the report stated.
Two of the victims were present during Tuesday’s sentencing hearing — Jordan Galarza, who Berry struck, and Samara Burgess, who was groped by Berry.
“My number role on any aircraft is to protect the passengers, including Maxwell Berry, who we did get to Miami safely that day,” Galarza said.
At the time, airline officials said the tape used to restrain Berry technically wasn’t duct tape, but is considered restraint tape.
“You can say it looked a bit barbaric, but it worked perfectly and no one got hurt because of how we did what we did,” Galarza said.
Galarza and Burgess both spoke about how they’ve been affected by the ordeal and told Local 10 News that they feel his sentence is not enough time for what he did.
“He made an enemy of everyone on that flight,” Galarza said. “The people on that aircraft saw justice happen — more than what we saw today.”
“I think it’s a disgusting miscarriage of justice, in my opinion,” he added.
Berry’s parents also spoke in court, saying their son has always been a star student, athlete and leader, and has been service oriented, but acknowledged that it’s no excuse for what he did.
They apologized on his behalf and his attorney, Jason Kreiss, read from letters that were sent to the court on Berry’s behalf.
“Mr. Berry is looking forward to putting this incident behind him,” Kreiss told Local 10 after the hearing. “We presented significant mitigation to the court, but respect the court’s judgement in this case.”
Berry also spoke Tuesday, saying he feels very remorseful and embarrassed by his actions.
Before handing down his sentence, Judge Robert N. Scola Jr. told Berry there’s “no delete button” and people cannot think they’re able to go on a plane and do this.
The judge also acknowledged that flight attendants shouldn’t feel unsafe at their job.