CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Utah man arrested, charged with assault on flight from New York to Salt Lake

Nov 23, 2022, 11:01 AM | Updated: Mar 28, 2023, 5:48 pm

Busy holiday season traveling...

Travelers move through the Salt Lake City International Airport in Salt Lake City on Friday, July 1, 2022. (Spenser Heaps/Deseret News)

(Spenser Heaps/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah man has been charged with assault after investigators say he brought and used a straight-edge razor to threaten a fellow passenger on an airplane earlier this week. 

A 41-year-old man from Syracuse was arrested on Nov. 21, when Merrill Darrell Fackrell left on a JetBlue flight from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to come to Salt Lake City. 

The United States Attorney for Utah’s Office, which is bringing the charges, says Fackrell was seated next to a woman and her husband on the plane and threatened her mid-flight. 

“Fackrell placed his hand in front of the woman’s screen and told her to pause her movie,” wrote the US Attorney for Utah’s Office in a statement. “According to the complaint, the woman took off her headphones and realized Fackrell had his hand clutched with what appeared to her as a knife, inches from her skin at her throat/neck area.”

The woman’s husband, seated on her other side, got help from a flight attendant. 

The US Attorney for Utah Michael Kennedy says the woman tried to escape, but Fackrell tried to stop her by grabbing her shoulder. Fackrell had reportedly been drinking on the flight.

Salt Lake City Police and the FBI are investigating the case. 

This is a developing story and will be updated. 

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Utah man arrested, charged with assault on flight from New York to Salt Lake