Date: March 8, 1971

Flight Info: National Airlines Flight 745 from Mobile, Ala., to Pensacola, Fla., with a scheduled stop in New Orleans.

The Story: A 16-year-old high-school sophomore who thought his parents were "on his back" about his lousy grades, Marston took control of the plane by brandishing a .38-caliber revolver. He told the pilot he wanted to head to Montreal, where he hoped to be embraced by the city’s community of American draft evaders. Over Knoxville, Tenn., the pilot told him, “Anytime you want to change your mind, let me know.” Thirty seconds later, Marston handed over his gun and told the pilot how to unload its three bullets. The pilot offered to fly the teen back to his hometown of Mobile, but Marston stressed that this was the last place in the world he wanted to go. The plane instead went to Miami, where Marston was arrested and charged with air piracy.

The Upshot: Marston’s father, an insurance salesman, insisted that his son was “just a normal high school student,” and that he had “no idea at all” why the teen would try to hijack a plane to Canada. Marston eventually pled guilty to air piracy, in exchange for receiving a sentence of indeterminate length in a juvenile facility.


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