It's clear that 62-year-old Marilyn Hartman wants to spend her days at San Francisco International Airport. What's less clear is why.
Hartman has continued to make headlines since February after she attempted three times to board a plane to Hawaii without a ticket. One time, she even came close to getting to the Aloha State when she piggybacked her way through security and boarded a Hawaii-bound plane. She was booted from the plane after a paying passenger found her in their seat and alerted authorities.
A few days later, she was found again at SFO but this time she had a discarded boarding pass she was hoping to use. Police arrested her and the court ordered her to stay away from SFO unless she had a ticket to fly -- one that was paid for.
Oddly enough, Hartman's run-in with the cops didn't deter her; she was spotted three more times at the airport in violation of her court order. Twice she was found in the food court and another time she was found at the baggage claim.
San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe has tried to cut Hartman some slack, letting her out of jail for time served and putting her on probation. But even after that, Hartman on Monday went back to SFO where she was arrested again and charged with trespassing.
"Detectives interviewed her in pretty good detail and there was no evidence of mental illness," Wagstaffe told us. "She's not delusional, she's not confrontational, this is not a woman who says 'I know what the law is but I'm going to gonna violate it anyway.' There's no anger expressed. It causes me to have concern about why she keeps coming back."
On Wednesday, Hartman appeared in court where she pled not guilty to charges of trespassing and violating a court order. Her bail was set for $25,000; the retired secretary remains in jail and a trial was set for May 5 at 9 a.m.
When investigators interviewed Hartman, they described her as "well-groomed, well-spoken, and articulate." "It's evident she's thinking abut what she's doing, but she does not want to go to a shelter because in her mind there's no difference between that and jail," Wagstaffe said.
According to the DA's Office, Hartman resides at her apartment on the 1000 block of Howard Street in San Francisco, but as far as they know she has no family. Anytime she's been booked into County Jail she's listed her emergency contact as "none." She had initially told authorities she had cancer and was trying to get to Hawaii to enjoy the warm weather. However, Wagstaffe confirmed that Hartman is a cancer survivor but does not currently have the disease.
"She just strikes me as a very lonely person," Wagstaffe said, adding that she might be going to the airport because there she will be surrounded by people.
While her unusual case moves through the system, Wagstaffe said he's pushing probation officers to help Hartman connect with the social services she needs -- perhaps linking her to a senior center.
"Jail is not the answer for her, but we can't ignore the violating of a court order," Wagstaffe said, adding that he has a great deal of sympathy for Hartman. "So let's find out what we can do as a society -- instead of punishment we're looking for an answer."