‘Serial stowaway’ Marilyn Hartman pleads guilty, sentenced to more than 3 years in prison

Hartman said she was “she was “happy to move on with my life,” after pleading guilty Thursday to felony counts of criminal trespass at O’Hare Airport and escape.

SHARE ‘Serial stowaway’ Marilyn Hartman pleads guilty, sentenced to more than 3 years in prison
O’Hare Airport in Chicago in a 2020 file photo.

O’Hare Airport in Chicago in a 2020 file photo.

Teresa Crawford/AP

Marilyn Hartman, the so-called “serial stowaway” for her penchant for sneaking past security at airports and getting on flights, was sentenced Thursday for trespassing at O’Hare in 2019.

Hartman, 70, pleaded guilty to felony counts of criminal trespass and escape from electronic monitoring before Cook County Judge Peggy Chiampas, saying in a written statement she read in court that she was “happy to move on with my life.”

Chiampas sentenced Hartman to 18 months in prison on the trespassing charge and two years on the escape charge, which Hartman will have to serve consecutively, the judge said.

Hartman received 874 days — two years and nearly five months — credit for her time in custody that will essentially satisfy her sentence.

Hartman could be released directly from Cook County Jail, having completed her sentence there, but the exact date was not immediately known, her assistant public defender Parle Roe-Taylor said.

“The pandemic has impacted many processes in the criminal justice system and leaves all with some uncertainty,” Roe-Taylor said.

Other pending charges were dropped against Hartman by prosecutors.

Chiampas said she would sign an order requesting the Illinois Department of Corrections to continue to provide mental health treatment for Hartman.

Hartman does not currently have a place to go after she is placed on mandatory supervised release, commonly called parole, her attorney said.

Hartman would be eligible for placement in a program that would provide her housing and mental health treatment, such as A Safe Haven, where Hartman previously resided while on probation for an earlier conviction.

Hartman left A Safe Haven last year while on probation, and went back to O’Hare where she was promptly arrested, leading to her escape charge. She said she was upset about a TV interview that was broadcast even though she said she had a written assurance it wouldn’t air until after her cases were over.

Marilyn Hartman

Marilyn Hartman

Marilyn Hartman | Cook County sheriff’s office

Prosecutors said Hartman had been stopped by police on airport property a dozen times in four states, including getting by security in 2014 to board a flight from San Jose to Los Angeles.

In 2018, Hartman was arrested at London’s Heathrow International Airport after it was discovered she had slipped past security at O’Hare, spent a day at the airport’s international terminal and then got aboard a British Airways flight without a boarding pass by blending in with the passengers, police said.

Despite being repeatedly told to stay away from O’Hare and Midway airports by judges in her cases, she continued to return to them over and over.

At her bond hearing on the escape charge last year, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy warned, “This continues to be a huge, major security breach that she participates in,” and added that it was only “a matter of time before somebody gets hurt.”

The prosecutor said he was sympathetic to Hartman’s mental health issues, but said she had continue to violate the court’s orders.

“She continually breaks that promise,” Murphy said.

On Thursday, Hartman apologized for those actions.

“I’ve struggled with depression and medication management my whole life,” Hartman said.

Chiampas acknowledged Hartman’s struggles s and said it was important for her to continue to receive treatment.

“I hope, and please don’t take this the wrong way, that I don’t see you in this court in this environment again,” Chiampas told her. “I wish you the best of luck.”

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