Repeat Stowaway Receives Sentence

Marilyn Hartman gets more than 3 years, but she could be freed anytime
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2021 7:22 AM CDT
Updated Mar 3, 2022 5:37 PM CST
At O'Hare Airport, Another 'Marilyn Sighting'
This January 2018 file photo shows Marilyn Hartman in Chicago.   (Chicago Police Department via AP)

(Newser) Update: Frequent stowaway Marilyn Hartman was sentenced to more than three years in prison on Thursday. Hartman pleaded guilty to felony counts of criminal trespass and escape from electronic monitoring in connection with a trespassing incident at Chicago's O'Hare Airport in 2019, the Sun-Times reports. A Cook County judge gave her 18 months in prison on the trespassing charge and two years on the escape count, to be served consecutively. But she received credit for time served in the Cook County Jail, meaning she could go free almost anytime. Her lawyer said she has nowhere to go, though she's eligible for housing programs that would continue her mental health treatment. Hartman apologized to the court and said, "I've struggled with depression and medication management my whole life." Our story from March 2021 follows:

Just one day after CBS Chicago published an in-depth interview with "Serial Stowaway" Marilyn Hartman on how she's been able to sneak onto so many flights over the years, there was another "Marilyn sighting" this week at O'Hare International Airport. WGN reports that Hartman, 69, was arrested Tuesday afternoon at the airport after she escaped custody at a halfway house where she was being electronically monitored. CBS notes Hartman's ankle bracelet didn't seem to be initially pinging, which afforded her the opportunity to flee the facility and head over to her old haunt O'Hare, where she's been busted multiple times before. Once it was discovered Hartman was missing, the Cook County Sheriff's Office tried to reach her on the monitoring device's built-in phone, but she didn't pick up.

Authorities were able to track her movements through the device's GPS, however, and once it was determined she seemed to be headed to O'Hare, Chicago police rushed to intercept her. Hartman was found in Terminal 2, before she'd passed any TSA security checkpoints, and detained. In her earlier correspondence with CBS' Brad Edwards, whom she's been in contact with since 2019, Hartman revealed her rather unsophisticated method for illicitly boarding flights to travel around the country and the world, which she estimates she's gotten away with at least 30 times. "I got by them ... by following someone ... carrying like a blue bag," she said. "I get into the TSA line and TSA lets me through, and they think I'm with the guy with the blue bag." Hartman, who told Edwards she's bipolar, said she was usually in a "depressed state of mind" when she'd sneak onto flights. Police say they'll seek felony escape charges for this week's antics. More from Hartman here. (Read more Marilyn Hartman stories.)

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