Feds: Love triangle feud led to false jet threat

Associated Press Modified: September 7, 2012 at 4:33 pm •  Published: September 7, 2012
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A man angry about a compromising Facebook photo of his girlfriend took revenge against the ex-boyfriend who posted it, making a hoax call to police that set off a terrorism scare and got the former beau taken off an airliner at gunpoint, authorities say.

The new boyfriend, Kenneth W. Smith Jr., was arrested Friday on charges of making a false threat to Philadelphia police, who recalled a Dallas-bound flight and marched the ex-beau, Christopher Shell, off the plane Thursday.

The episode led to Shell's own arrest on drug warrants after he finally reached Texas to celebrate his 29th birthday.

On Friday, both Shell and Smith posted bond.

Shell declined to comment. Smith's lawyer, Bill Brennan, described his client as "embarrassed" by the consequences of the alleged threat.

"My client is very, very sobered by the amount of attention this has received," Brennan said after Smith's initial appearance in federal court in Philadelphia. "He's not very happy about it."

Passengers weren't very happy about the scare that rerouted US Airways Flight 1267 on Thursday morning. They were about 90 miles into their trip when the aircraft turned around.

After landing at Philadelphia International Airport, heavily armed law enforcement officers boarded the plane and removed Shell. During questioning, he told authorities of the romantic feud, which involved hostile text messages with his ex and encounters with Smith, according to a federal affidavit.

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