L.A. Now

LAX stowaway freed from jail after serving only 3 days of 6-month term

A woman who stowed away on a flight to Los Angeles International Airport was released from Los Angeles County Jail after serving only three days of her nearly six-month jail sentence.

Marilyn Hartman, 62, pleaded guilty earlier this month to violating her probation and was sentenced to 177 days in jail.

The Daily Breeze reported Saturday that Hartman was released after three days, with L.A. County Sheriff's Department officials citing jail overcrowding.

The Times reported Sunday that, because of overcrowding, female inmates in L.A. County are often released after serving as little as 5% of their sentences. 

Though Hartman garnered national headlines after arriving at LAX on a Southwest flight from San Jose without a boarding pass, Bay Area authorities had been aware of her for the better part of the year.

According to San Mateo County court records and news reports, Hartman had made at least half a dozen attempts to fly out of San Francisco International Airport without a ticket. Twice she was stopped before boarding a plane but on the third attempt, she made it aboard. Only when a passenger pointed out she was in that person’s seat was she caught and arrested.

Hartman was given a short jail stint and ordered to stay away from the San Francisco airport if she didn’t have a ticket, but police arrested her three more times on airport property.

Then on Aug. 4, Hartman appeared at Mineta San Jose International Airport and managed to board a Southwest Airlines flight to Los Angeles, where she was arrested on suspicion of trespassing.

Hartman pleaded guilty Aug. 6. She was given 24 months' probation and ordered to stay away from LAX if she didn’t have a ticket. She told reporters she was going to follow the law and was going to take a bus home.

But a day later, Hartman was back at LAX. Police tracked her from Union Station to the airport and watched her meander about the property for hours before arresting her.

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