Utahn charged with assault after allegedly holding blade to woman’s throat on flight

Nov 23, 2022, 11:44 AM
FILE: A JetBlue jet moves along the runway at Laguardia AIrport on November 10, 2022 in the Queens ...
FILE: A JetBlue jet moves along the runway at Laguardia AIrport on November 10, 2022 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — A 41-year-old man from Syracuse, Utah, has been charged for carrying and using a straight-edge razor blade on a JetBlue flight earlier this week.

According to a release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah, the suspect, identified as Merrill Darrell Fackrell, was seated in a window seat, next to a married couple, on a flight from New York to Salt Lake City.

Court documents say Fackrell had consumed multiple alcoholic beverages and engaged the woman, who was sitting in the middle seat, in a “long and varied conversation.”

Later on the flight, federal officials say the woman put on headphones to watch a movie. She could hear “Fackrell continue to talk to himself but was not paying him any attention.”

Fackrell then put his hand on the woman’s screen and told her to pause her movie.

According to court documents, 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.”

Fackrell allegedly stood up and yelled “She’s going to be OK” and “No one needs to worry” before telling the woman’s husband to “get the (expletive) out of there.”

Federal officials say the husband went to the front of the plane to get help from a flight attendant.

After he left, the woman lunged for the aisle and was able to break free from Fackrell before running to the front of the aircraft, according to court documents.

Another passenger noticed the blade and got Fackrell to put it down before securing it and passing it along for safekeeping. That passenger then sat next to Fackrell for the rest of the flight.

The object “was retained by the flight crew and was found to be a Facon wood-handled straight edge razor with a one-to-two-inch blade,” court documents say.

Fackrell’s initial court appearance is scheduled for noon Wednesday. He has been charged with carrying a weapon on an aircraft and assault with a dangerous weapon in the Special Aircraft Jurisdiction of the United States.

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Utahn charged with assault after allegedly holding blade to woman’s throat on flight