'Serial stowaway' gets new court date after pleading not guilty

Lawyer files for mental competency evaluation


YULEE, Fla. – A 63-year-old woman the Nassau County sheriff described as a "serial stowaway" has another court date after pleading not guilty Wednesday in court.

Her attorney has filed a motion for a mental competancy evaluation and the judge set her next court date for March 16.

Marilyn Jean Hartman was found staying at the Omni Resort Amelia Island Plantation on Feb. 9 without authorization, deputies said.

"She was very pleasant, very cooperative," said Deputy Mark Murphy. "Once I explained to her that she was being charged with defrauding the innkeeper and the fraudulent use of personal information and trespassing, she, quite frankly, just said, 'Yes, I understand.'"

The TSA was investigating how Hartman, who has a history of boarding airplanes without tickets, appears to have boarded a flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Jacksonville International Airport on Sunday despite not having a ticket.

Airport surveillance video is being reviewed in Minneapolis and Jacksonville to check Hartman's story, TSA spokesman Ross Feinstein said.

Nassau County deputies say that once Hartman was in Jacksonville, she accepted a ride from a shuttle driver who though she was an Omni guest and checked in to a villa under that guest's name.

Nassau County deputies said when the real guest arrived at the Omni and tried to check later Sunday, Hartman was contacted and asked to come back to the front desk because of an error in booking, but she disappeared.

Hartman was found by Omni security Feb. 9 staying in a room that was under renovation. She was arrested and booked into the Nassau County Jail.

Hartman has been arrested numerous times across the U.S. for trying to sneak onto airplanes and staying at locations without authorization. News4Jax tracked down booking photos of Hartman from jails from all over the country. Six of them were taken in the past year.

"The only thing she wouldn't tell me is how she actually gets by security and gets on these planes," said Deputy Murphy.

We looked up her history and here are some of incidents she has been involved in:

  • February 2014 -- Hartman was sentenced to 18 months of probation after trying to board three separate flights from San Francisco to Hawaii.
  • March 2014 -- Hartman was arrested twice for hanging out in the San Francisco airport after she was banned from the premises.
  • August 2014 -- Hartman was arrested for getting through security and board if a flight from Mineta San Jose International Airport to Los Angeles International Aiport. She was ordered to spend 117 days in jail for violating probation by returning to LAX, but she was released Aug. 16 because of overcrowding at the detention facility.
  • Hartman was arrested Aug. 26 near baggage claim at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on suspicion of criminal trespassing. Police say she was loitering around a checkpoint and did not have an airline ticket.
  • Then Monday, Hartman was arrested in Nassau County after police said she boarded a flight without a ticket from Minnesota to Jacksonville before checking into the Omni under another woman's name.

In an interview in August with KCBS in Los Angeles, Hartman promised never to do it again.

"It was stupid and it's something I do not want to repeat. It was clearly wrong on my part and I certainly do not want to do it again because I certainly don't want to do any jail time," Hartman said.

KCBS said Hartman is a retired secretary who is now homeless. Last year she told NBC News that she suffers from "whistleblower trauma syndrome" and was forced from her home by the FBI, which left her homeless. 

"Obviously they'll be on watch for me so I wouldn't dare attempt this again. I don't want to be that position. I want to go with a paid ticket," said Hartman. 

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said it's highly improbable that she got on a flight to Jacksonville under a false identity because of intense TSA security screenings since Sept. 11, but at a hotel, Smith said she must have found a weakness in security.

"As far as checking into a hotel, she did that somehow. She got into (their) system, found out who was staying (there) and was able to say she was this woman. Most hotels, you need to show ID, credit card, (to) show that you are that person with the reservation. For hotel stays, somehow she was able to breach that security again," he said.

In another incident, she told investigators she had cancer and was trying to live out the remainder of her days in a warm place like Hawaii.

There is no information on what brought Hartman to the area.