The man, now 61, had initially entered a plea of not guilty. He does admit to having had something to drink during the flight, but intended to argue that he was exhausted, emotionally and physically at the time, as he was en route to Atlanta to have his adult son taken off life-support following an intentional insulin overdose that had left the son in a coma.
“He lost a child,” explained his attorney. “And to hear a child scream… he lost it. He was up for 24 hours determining whether to unplug his son.”
The man lost his job at an aerospace contractor after the incident made headlines around the world, and says he has not worked full-time since. He also says he’s been going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and getting counseling since being arrested.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the plea deal will cap his prison time at six months, half of what he could have faced if found guilty in a trial. He must also continue substance-abuse treatment and undergo anger-management counseling, which the man claims he’s already enrolled in.
The man’s fate will be determined in January when he returns to court for sentencing. His lawyer says her client hopes to receive probation.
“He’s already lost his son and his job,” she explained.