Williams Potts, Jr. (pictured), who hijacked a commercial plane and forced it to travel to Cuba back in 1984, was handed a 20-year prison sentence by a Florida federal judge last week, according to Yahoo News.
The now-57-year-old, who has spent the last 30 years in Cuba, returned to these shores last November. Potts spent 13 years in a Cuban prison for his crime, calling it one of the “worst hell holes on the planet,” according to his lawyer, Robert Berube. “There were no bathroom facilities. There were plastic sheets on the beds because urine drips down through the ceilings.”
Now claiming to be a changed man, Potts wants the U.S. government to take in to consideration the prison time he served while in Cuba for his air piracy and kidnapping charges. He also contends that he has grown in positive ways as a human being and is, today, a better man for it.
Upon his release from the Cuban “hell hole,” Potts was granted residency to live on the communist island; he eventually married and had two daughters who now live in Atlanta. Potts tells the news outlet, “Everything changes when you become a parent. You realize everything you’ve done before, none of that stuff matters.”
At the time of the hijacking, Potts handed a Piedmont Airlines flight attendant a note indicating he had planted explosives on the aircraft that had just left its New York City hub. Potts is reportedly one of just a handful of former nationalist Panther movement members who fled to Cuba. Many of the remaining members of the original black revolutionary socialist organization that was formed in the ’60s, who had been reportedly living in Cuba over the years, have either passed away or been returned to the United States to face criminal charges.
Meanwhile, Potts will be eligible for parole in 2021 under a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of Florida, K. Michael Moore.