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Denver International Airport ax-wielding pilot case settled

United Airlines pilot charged in bizarre ax attack caught on video in DIA lot
United Airlines pilot charged in bizarre ax attack caught on video in Denver airport lot 02:22

A United Airlines pilot caught on tape in a bizarre ax attack on a parking gate has settled his criminal case, agreeing to enter a diversion program lasting 12 months.

According to Adams County court records, Kenneth Henderson Jones reached the agreement this week.

He had been charged by police with criminal mischief, a misdemeanor. But the Adams County District Attorney says the agreement allows the pilot to avoid an actual criminal prosecution, assuming he successfully completes the one-year diversion program.

The video from Aug. 2 showed Jones, 63, armed with a full-sized ax, chop at a parking arm at the exit gate of a Denver International Airport employee parking lot 23 times until he knocked the parking arm off its base.


Jones told police, "he just hit his breaking point." The video showed Jones scuffling with an airport employee who saw what happened and tried to wrestle the ax away from the pilot. The pilot surrendered the ax after a second airport employee intervened. Nobody was injured but the parking arm suffered about $700 damage, according to Denver International Airport authorities.

Jones was scheduled to appear in court Sept. 25 but this week's agreement means there will be no court appearance.

Jones told law enforcement that he was trying to leave the employee lot but there were six cars in each line at the lot's exit point. Jones told deputies he "was trying to get rid of issues for everyone waiting."

According to the diversion agreement obtained by CBS News Colorado, Jones is agreeing to submit to an assessment of what caused his behavior, 30 hours of relevant community service, pay restitution for the damage, and agrees that the agreement will be terminated if he is involved in any other criminal case. He will also have to get approval from a client manager before leaving the state and agrees to random drug testing. 


District Attorney Brian Mason released a statement about the diversion agreement:

"In every case, our office seeks to do what is in the best interest of the community, the victim, and the defendant. People make mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes necessitate serious punishment, but sometimes they do not. When we can keep low level offenders out of the criminal justice system altogether, that protects the community and reduces recidivism. We have an outstanding Diversion program in our office that diverts people out of the criminal justice system when they commit low-level offenses, have no prior criminal history, and is in the best interest of the community and in the best interest of justice. This case fit squarely within those parameters, and we're pleased to resolve the case in this manner."

Attorneys for Jones have not responded to phone calls or emails from CBS News Colorado. United Airlines initially said Jones was removed from work while the airline investigated what occurred. Colorado court records showed Jones had no previous arrests.

RELATED: "Pilots are crying out for help": Pilots criticize FAA for outdated, prohibitive mental health policies

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