20 years For Hijacker Of U.S. Airline To Cuba

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Williams Potts gets 20 years.

News Americas, MIAMI, FL, Fri. July 18, 2014: Despite his pleas, a Miami judge yesterday ruled that a U.S. national who surrendered to federal authorities last November after some 30 years on the lam for hijacking a U.S. jetliner to Cuba must serve time in a U.S. jail.

William Potts Jr., a self-described black militant, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for hijacking the New York-to-Miami flight to Havana in 1984.

The sentencing was imposed by U.S. District Judge Michael Moore even though Potts, 57, pleaded:  “If you just give me a chance, judge, I’ll do you proud. I’m begging you, please, let me go back to my children.”

Potts  has already served 13 years in a Cuban prison and spent 16 years raising a family on the island . Last November he surrendered to U.S. federal authorities saying he wanted to be reunited with his daughters, now living in the United States.

Still it is unlikely the former New Jersey resident will have to serve the full term as Judge Moore sided with the prosecution’s recommended sentence, which would allow Potts to seek parole in about seven years.