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Woman dubbed ‘serial stowaway’ gets 3 years in prison for sneaking onto flights

Marilyn Hartman tried to board flights in Florida, Hawaii, elsewhere

Cook County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Marilyn Hartman

CHICAGO – A 70-year-old woman with a history of slipping past security at airports and sneaking onto flights was sentenced on Thursday to more than three years in prison for trespassing at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in 2019.

After Marilyn Hartman pleaded guilty to felony counts of criminal trespass and escape from electronic monitoring, Cook County Judge Peggy Chiampas sentenced her to 18 months for the trespassing charge and two years for the escape charge.

RELATED: Nassau County deputies arrest ‘serial stowaway’

She must serve the sentences consecutively, the judge said. However, she was given well over two years of credit for the time she has already been in custody, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Hartman was arrested in Nassau County in 2015 after she was found staying at the Omni Resort Amelia Island Plantation without authorization, deputies said.

In exchange for her plea, prosecutors agreed to drop other similar charges against her — including those stemming from an incident last March when she allegedly left a facility where she’d been staying on electronic monitoring and went to O’Hare in the apparent hopes of sneaking onto another flight.

The hearing marks the latest chapter in a years-long odyssey of a woman dubbed the “serial stowaway” who has sneaked into airports in Chicago, Hawaii, San Francisco, Florida and elsewhere and tried — sometimes successfully — to board passenger jets without a ticket. Her 2019 arrest violated a probation sentence she received for her conviction on charges that she sneaked past O’Hare security in January 2018, boarded a jet and flew to London’s Heathrow Airport without a ticket.

Hartman has apologized before and on Thursday she apologized for leaving the facility where she was receiving mental health treatment and housing.

“I’ve struggled with depression and medication management my whole life,” Hartman said.


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