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American To Plead Guilty In ’84 Cuba Jet Hijacking

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William Potts Jr., an American accused of hijacking a Florida-bound flight and diverting it to Cuba in 1984, arrives at F.B.I. headquarters after arriving on a flight at Miami International Airport on November 6, 2013 in Miami, Florida. Potts, according to an indictment, is being charged with air piracy by threatening to blow up Piedmont Airlines flight No. 337 on which he was a passenger going from New York City to Miami on March 27, 1984, if the pilot did not divert the jet to Havana, Cuba. (Source:  Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

William Potts Jr., an American accused of hijacking a Florida-bound flight and diverting it to Cuba in 1984, arrives at F.B.I. headquarters after arriving on a flight at Miami International Airport on November 6, 2013 in Miami, Florida. Potts, according to an indictment, is being charged with air piracy by threatening to blow up Piedmont Airlines flight No. 337 on which he was a passenger going from New York City to Miami on March 27, 1984, if the pilot did not divert the jet to Havana, Cuba. (Source: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

South Florida Crime

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami/AP) —An American who returned from Cuba decades after allegedly hijacking a jetliner coming to Miami is set to plead to a kidnapping charge.

A change of plea hearing is set for Thursday in South Florida Federal court for 57-year-old William Potts, who said he returned last year from Cuba to finally resolve the 30-year-old U.S. case.

The kidnapping count replaces a previous charge of air piracy, which carried a mandatory prison sentence of at least 20 years. Potts is seeking credit for 13 years he served in a Cuban prison. He still faces a maximum life sentence.

The FBI said Potts claimed he had explosives when he hijacked a New York-to-Miami flight and diverted it to Havana in 1984. He described himself then as a black militant calling himself “Lt. Spartacus.”

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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