LEE COUNTY, Fla. - ONLY ON WINK- William Potts hijacked a plane bound for Miami, March 1984, and took it to Cuba. He returned to the U.S. last week to face the court system.
One of the passengers on that plane is talking exclusively to WINK News, she remembers every moment of the terrifying trip.
William Potts pleaded not guilty to air piracy charges in a Miami federal courtroom. Authorities say in March 1984, Potts handed a flight attendant a note saying there were explosives on board
"Shocked! How could you plead 'not guilty' when you did it?"
Karen Moro and her six year old son were aboard the Piedmont flight bound for Miami. The family dog was in the baggage compartment.
To this day, she keeps memories of that terrifying trip: her airline ticket, baggage tags and newspaper articles.
"I asked the stewardess, I said 'are we being hijacked?' She gave me a look (which meant) 'I can't talk.'"
Authorities say William Potts, who called himself Lt. Spartacus, handed the flight attendant a note, and demanded the plane land in Cuba.
"We were just about to land in Miami, the wheels actually touched down on the ground. And then the stewardess said 'everybody remain calm. we have an unexpected landing, we're going to land in 30 minutes.' I said to the girl sitting next to me, "I bet we're going to Cuba.' And she said 'how do you know?' I said 'where's 30 minutes from here?'
"My son told me that he saw a black man give the stewardess a note, then he saw him go in the bathroom, actually wrote a note on the back of the door," Moro said.
That door was used as evidence. The plane landed safely in a field in Havana, where Moro bought a coffee mug to keep as a memory.
"I just remember this nice lady sitting next to me. We held hands as we landed in Cuba like..'you may be the last person i see.' He needs to pay for what he did. Because luckily no one was hurt. No one was killed. But it could of turned out so much different," Moro said.
Reports indicate Potts hijacked that plane because he wanted learn how to overthrow the U.S. government.
He thought he'd be greeted as a hero in Cuba but instead, was imprisoned for over a decade. He voluntarily returned to the U.S. after years of exile and now, could get between 20 years and life in prison