Globe and Mail Update, Thursday, Jun. 18, 2009 11:56PM EDT
Adam Dylan Leon, 31, was found competent to assist in his own defence, and soon after he was indicted in St. Louis, Missouri, on U.S. federal charges of interstate transportation of a stolen aircraft, importation of a stolen aircraft, and illegal entry.
Mr. Leon waved his right for a bail hearing, and agreed to stay in custody until the case is resolved, according to court documents.
There were reports a suicide note was left at the Thunder Bay hangar, and speculation at the time that the pilot was trying to commit suicide by forcing an American fighter jet to shoot the Cessna down.
Mr. Leon's appointed American public defender, Lucy Liggett, had applied immediately after his arrest for a psychiatric evaluation, the results of which have been sealed by the courts.
If convicted, he faces just over 20 years in prison. Ms. Liggett declined comment yesterday to an Associated Press reporter.
Mr. Leon has been in custody since the ill-fated April 6 flight in a Cessna training plane owned by Confederation College, which he attended. The plane was taken by a pilot – alleged to be Mr. Leon – and flown into American airspace, where fighter jets began to follow it. They received no communication from the pilot aboard, authorities said at the time.
The small single-engine propeller plane was flown through four states until it ran out of fuel nearly eight hours after taking off, landing on a rural Missouri highway. Mr. Leon was arrested soon after at a nearby cafe. At the cafe, he used the washroom, bought a Gatorade and sat in a booth patiently until police arrived and arrested him, staff said at the time.
Mr. Leon was born in Turkey as Yavuz Berke, before coming to Canada. He is a Canadian citizen. He had once failed the Confederation College flight course, before re-enrolling prior to the time of the rogue flight.
Commentary by the OttawaMensCentre.com
Adam Leon aka Yavuz Berke is obviously mentally ill or was at the time he
chose to destroy his future, very obviously he did not think he had a future and
or that his future was at an end by death.
Those are about the most obvious and clearest symptoms of a mental health problem and these should not be treated by a lifetime jail sentence.
Canada has a similar attitude towards the mentally ill, lock them up and throw away the key, don't use hospitals or medication, just give $5,000 a month to a private jail and get some kickbacks for the next election.
As much as it annoys many Canadians, he is now a Canadian Citizen and the Canadian Government needs to ensure that he is treated fairly and appropriately.
Canada can start by demanding that his psychiatric assessment be made public.
Don't expect Mr. Harper to make that decision anytime soon. That leadership will have to be shown by the opposition if they have the moral fortitude to actually speak on such a politically incorrect subject as mental health.
It is societies, the court's refusal to acknowledge mental health problems as the major cause of civil family and criminal litigation that swamps our courts, overflows our jails and breeds ever more generations of dysfunctional children.
That's not a subject that only the most courageous of politicians is willing to speak out about.
Lets see if one of them is willing.