Long Island-resident Varoujan Khodjamirian's flight home from the Denver area was presumably uneventful -- maybe because a judge ordered him to forego alcohol on the way back. Why this edict? Because Khodjamirian's previous time in the air devolved into a drunken, death-threat-filled tirade that required the jet that carried him to divert to Colorado.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Khodjamirian was a passenger on American Airlines flight 21, traveling from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to Los Angeles International Airport last Thursday.
The journey was uneventful for the first hour and a half or so. But then, Khodjamirian, allegedly fueled by several alcohol beverages, began to get loud and disruptive. After the passengers placed next to him griped, flight attendants reseated them and tried to calm Khodjamirian down.
That was a no-go. According to the arrest affidavit used as the basis for the criminal complaint on view below, Khodjamirian, who's of Ukrainian descent, hit one of the flight attendants in the face and began yelling, "I kill you children, I kill your mother, I will beat you all down and kill you."
This performance earned Khodjamirian a set of flexible cuffs, personal attention from two flight attendants, who sat with him after he was restrained to make sure he didn't erupt again, and a bonus stop in Denver, the airport to which the flight was diverted.
Khodjamirian offered a good reason for his boozing. He reportedly told a U.S. Magistrate Judge that his brother had been told he only had a couple of days to live. But that doesn't mean he's off the hook. He faces a charge of interfering with flight crew members and attendants, an offense that can garner up to twenty years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
After several days behind bars, U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Jeff Dorschner says Khodjamirian "had a detention hearing" on Tuesday. "The judge ordered that he be released on a personal recognizance bond and allowed him to fly home. But he's only allowed to fly between New York, his home, and Colorado for court appearances" -- his next one being a status conference scheduled for November 3.
One more thing: "The judge said he's not allowed to have any alcohol prior to these events."
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Probably just as well. Look below to see the criminal complaint.
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More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Tom Zelenovic charged with assault for beating man on plane after arguing over reclining seat."