Suspected assault on Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant to remain in custody

The 32-year-old man accused of twice hitting a Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant during a flight on September 23 was ordered to remain in custody by a federal judge today.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Rom Trader held a detention hearing this morning for Steven Sloan Jr. in Honolulu Federal Court by telephone from the Honolulu Federal Detention Center on charges of assault and interference with a flight crew.

The trader ordered Sloan to remain in detention to mitigate any risk of danger he may pose to the community or to himself.

During the hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Darren Ching said Sloan should be detained, citing the suspect’s mental health issues and drug use.

“Considering the current situation of the accused and this is based on the fact that the government alleges that this was an unprovoked attack as well as mental health issues of the accused which included at least admissions that he had heard voices in the past two weeks and that there are reports that someone who knows him has also said that he has heard voices in the past four weeks. drug and security problems which I will not detail which are contained in the report of the preliminary services with regard to him as well as the security of others, the government agrees that at that time, he should be detained ”, a said Ching.

Federal Public Defender Salina Kanai pointed out that Sloan had no criminal history or a history of violence.

“I understand that the court may have certain things to think about,” Kanai said. “There is recent drug use. There are potentially mental issues and of course the nature of the allegation. But I think those three things on their own shouldn’t be obstacles in a case where this is a case without presumption. “

Kanai noted that there are release conditions that can be designed to mitigate risk, such as an addiction treatment program, mental health counseling, and GPS monitoring, if needed.

The alleged unprovoked attack occurred on flight HA 152 bound for Hilo on the morning of September 23, shortly after departing from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

The flight attendant was walking down the aisle to pick up trash when Sloan, who was sitting in a sixth row seat, punched him in the chest, according to an FBI affidavit.

Soon after, Sloan got up from his seat and withdrew his right hand as if he was going to hit him again. The flight attendant attempted to cover his body when he felt a punch to the left rear of his head.

Sloan then sat down “as if nothing had happened,” the affidavit states.

The flight carrying 80 passengers and five crew members was rerouted to Honolulu, where deputy sheriffs boarded the plane and arrested it.

Born in Hawaii, Sloan has lived in Molokai for 10 years where he has family members currently living there.

During today’s hearing, Trader said that certain factors may be relevant for his release, such as his lack of a criminal record and ties to the community.

“The court is however very concerned about his current situation, in particular, and especially about his current state of mental health. This, coupled with the admitted drug addiction issues, really gives the court great concern as to whether or not it can be safely released into the community, ”he added. “While the circumstances of this offense are alarming, what is of most concern is the type of unprovoked nature of the alleged conduct in this case.”

Sloan’s next hearing is scheduled for October 14.

During this time, the pretrial services will be asked to consider the possibility of dual diagnosis treatment for Sloan.

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