Utah man accused of holding razor near another passenger’ throat charged with assault

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Utah man accused of holding razor near another passenger’ throat charged with assault

A Utah man accused of holding a straight-edge razor near another passenger's throat on a New York City-to- Salt Lake City flight has been charged with assault, authorities said.

He was charged Tuesday with assault with a dangerous weapon on or near an aircraft and carrying a weapon on a flight, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department s District of Utah.

Merrill Darrell Fackrell, 41, of Syracuse, Utah, a northern suburb of Salt Lake City, was assigned counsel from a federal defender's office, which did not respond to a request for comment.

Officials said he boarded a John F. Kennedy International Airport with a concealed straight-edge razor marketed to barbers.

The incident happened Monday, at the beginning of one of the busiest travel weeks of the year, with AAA expecting more than 53.4 million people to leave home for Thanksgiving.

According to a police account included in the criminal complaint, Fackrell, who officials said had several alcoholic beverages, tried to block the screen of a woman watching a movie in the seat next to him.

The woman said he held the razor near her throat as he told her to pause the movie, according to prosecutors.

The woman's husband, who was sitting in the same row, had gone for help.

She told NBC affiliate KSL that he was going to get help because he knew something was really off. He didn't knowingly leave me to handle a man with a weapon. The woman lunged into the aisle and was uninjured, prosecutors said.

The couple was moved to the front of the plane, it said.

Magistrate Judge Daphne A. Oberg of the U.S. District Court in Utah ordered Fackrell held.

His defense had argued for him to be released to his parents' Utah residence citing a lack of a criminal record and a need for medical treatment.