Bomb threat suspect denies accusations after incident at PBIA

Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 5:30 PM EST
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The man accused of making a bomb threat Tuesday night at Palm Beach International Airport is out of jail after posting bail.

While waiting for a cab Wednesday afternoon, John Magee, 66, denied that he had made any such threats.

Magee was a passenger on a Frontier Airlines flight headed to Philadelphia but was pulled off the plane before it took off.

A probable cause affidavit said he was overheard by another passenger making a threat.

Magee pushed back against the accusations.

"Nobody came up and asked me anything," Magee said. "They just dragged me right off the plane, put me in a room and then they dragged my buddy off. The next thing you know the FBI comes in and they want me to ... they gave me my Miranda rights."

Magee says he was then questioned by the FBI.

"When they pulled me off, I'm like, 'What are you pulling me off for?'" Magee said. "They apparently said it must have been in my backpack. They had TSA go through all their films and everything."

At his first appearance in court Wednesday morning, Magee faced a judge.

"Mr. Magee, let's see, you're charged with making a false report of a bomb," the judge said. "That's a second-degree felony."

The prosecutor asked for a high bond and house arrest, but Magee's public defender countered that the bond shouldn't be so high.

"I think this was in the dumb category rather than the malicious category," the public defender said.

The aftereffect of his alleged threat meant Concourse C at Palm Beach International Airport was shut down for three hours. The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad and the FBI checked two passenger bags.

Seven flights were delayed and several hundred people planning to fly out were moved outside the terminal.

Julian Sub was on the same flight as Magee.

"Happy they went through the proper protocol of getting everyone into safety and making sure that everything was properly taken care of, even though it's unfortunate they did cancel our flight for the night," Sub said.

Magee said he came down from New Jersey with a friend for a three-day train ride. He said his next move is to get a lawyer.

His next court date was scheduled for Feb. 23.

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