Denver man convicted of disrupting flight crew; faces up to 20 years in prison


DENVER — A Denver man is facing up to 20 years in prison after he was convicted of disrupting the crew on a flight from Philadelphia to Denver last year.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver said Joseph Wayne Lynch II was found guilty this week of interference with flight crew members and attendants.

The crime happened August 4, 2015, when Lynch boarded U.S. Airways flight 580 from Philadelphia to Denver. Because he missed his previous connection, the airline upgraded Lynch to first class to make up for the inconvenience.

Prosecutors said Lynch displayed loud and odd behavior when he got on the plane, causing the flight attendant to limit his alcohol intake. After the flight took off, Lynch switched seats to sit next to a young woman with whom he wanted to strike up a conversation. When the flight attendant denied him alcohol, he became disruptive and threatening, according to prosecutors. He also inappropriately touched the flight attendant several times, putting his hand on the small of her back and grabbing her and kissing her neck.

When told that his behavior was inappropriate, Lynch began shouting profanities at flight attendants and other passengers. Prosecutors said he was so loud that the plane’s captain heard the rants in the cockpit–despite radio traffic and noise-cancelling headphones.

The flight attendants got an ice hammer, a pot of hot coffee, and plastic handcuffs, and asked two passengers to help if Lynch got further out of hand.

When confronted, Lynch responded by repeating, “Let’s go!” He then promised to bring the airline down. He also falsely claimed to be a former Green Beret / Special Forces, and showed off his purported bullet wounds. He also showed off a photo of his marijuana farm, according to prosecutors.

Lynch’s behavior caused the captain to lock down the cockpit, report the situation to the airline, and ask that police be at the gate when the plane arrived. When Lynch saw the officers, he redirected his threats and anger toward them, according to officers.

Lynch faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He will be sentenced May 16.

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