Man accused of trying to open door of United plane and attacking crew is declared unfit for trial

If convicted, Torres could face a life sentence.

Photo: JASON REDMOND/AFP/Getty Images

Last March, a 33-year-old man, identified as Francisco Severo Torres, caused chaos on United Airlines Flight 2609.who was leaving Los Angeles for Boston after he attempted to stab a flight attendant with a broken spoon and threatened to open the emergency door while the plane was airborne.

Almost four months after that moment, Magistrate Judge Judith Dein, based on a mental health assessment of Francisco Severo Torres and his own observations in court, he determined that further treatment is warranted.

According to the accounts of the prosecutor and witnesses, Torres cursed and attempted to stab the crew member with a modified metal spoon.

The plane was about 45 minutes from Boston when the crew received an alarm that a side door on the plane was disarmed, according to court documents.

Torres then began to ramble aloud that his father was Dracula, that he wanted to be shot so he could be reincarnated, and that he would kill everyone on board, another passenger said.

He struck a flight attendant, who felt the metal spoon in Torres's hand strike him on the collar of his shirt and tie three times, according to court documents. Nobody was hurt.

Despite all the elements, “The Court hereby finds... that the defendant currently suffers from a mental illness or defect rendering him mentally incompetent to the extent that he is unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him or to adequately assist in his defense,” Dein wrote in his decision.

Torres, of Leominster, Massachusetts, is charged with one felony charge related to the use of a dangerous weapon to interfere with flight crew members in the incident of United Airlines Flight 2609 from Los Angeles to Boston on March 5.

US Bureau of Prisons records indicate Torres remains at the Federal Medical Center (FMC) in Devens, Massachusetts, where he was sent after an initial court appearance.

Torres has spent time in mental health facilities, according to court records. The police chief in his hometown said officers have treated him multiple times since 2014, mostly for family issues and mental health episodes.

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