Crime & Courts

Flight attendant accused of attacking co-workers on Charlotte flight faces lesser charge

Federal prosecutors have reduced the charges against an American Airlines flight attendant accused of striking her co-workers and a U.S. air marshal during both legs of an overseas Thanksgiving-week flight from Charlotte last year.

Joanne Snow, 67, is now charged with simple assault, a misdemeanor, according to new court documents filed Tuesday. She had faced two federal felonies stemming from a round-trip flight between Charlotte and Frankfurt, Germany, last November. Both legs were marred by what witnesses describe as Snow’s erratic and violent behavior. She faced a maximum punishment of more than 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

A document filed by federal prosecutors that outlines the new charge says Snow “knowingly and intentionally” assaulted a federal officer on Flight 704 on Nov. 23. The document indicates a plea agreement has been reached between prosecutors and Snow’s attorney.

An affidavit from a U.S. air marshal who was a passenger on the overseas flight said Snow struck her co-workers and marshals and then tried to flee passport control after the plane landed in Charlotte. A federal prosecutor said Snow tried to open the aircraft’s door while it taxied for takeoff in Germany.

After Snow’s arrest, she was involuntarily committed to a hospital, then jailed. It was not clear Tuesday when her next court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Cayer will take place. Cayer freed her on bond if she agreed to seek psychological treatment.

American was hit by a second episode of violence last month. Michael Kerr, a Lexington, Ky., cook, was arrested and charged with drunkenly attacking flight attendants on an inbound flight to Charlotte. Flight attendants had served Kerr three whiskeys during the hourlong flight.