Homesick hijacker William Potts returns to US after nearly 30 years

"What happens after that I couldn't tell you," Potts says of return to U.S. soil.
By Evan Bleier   |   Nov. 6, 2013 at 12:39 PM   |   0 comments

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(UPI) -- A man who hijacked a plane nearly 30 years ago and flew it to Cuba while he was a member of Black Panthers will be returning to the U.S. on Wednesday.

William Potts took control of a commercial plane that took off from New Jersey with 56 passengers and re-routed it from Florida to Cuba in 1984.

Potts thought the Cuban government would offer him guerrilla training but he was thrown in jail for 13 years for piracy instead. He settled in Havana after his release where he married and had two daughters, but now he’s homesick for America.

He wants "closure" but knows that he will have to face the U.S. justice system.

"I'm ready for whatever. My position is, of course, I did the crime and I did the time, and the United States has to recognize that," Potts said. "Having completed my sentence, I feel like I want to put all that stuff behind me. I don't want that linger over or impeding anything I might want to do. Once you've paid your debt to society, you're entitled to a fresh start."

With the help of U.S. diplomats in Havana, Potts has arranged a charter flight to Miami. He is expecting to be picked up by U.S. authorities upon his arrival in Florida.

"What happens after that I couldn't tell you," he said. "Just as soon as I finish taking care of this business in the United States, I certainly have every intention of returning to Cuba to live."

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