Boyfriend says
woman is no terrorist

He insists threatening cruise
passengers was out of character

His girlfriend is not a terrorist, said the boyfriend of the woman accused of planting threatening notes aboard a cruise ship in hopes of halting a family trip so she could rejoin him in California.

John Brashear, whose hometown and age were not available, defended his girlfriend, Kelley Marie Ferguson, during an interview yesterday with a Los Angeles TV station.

"Not even close to being a terrorist," he said. "I'm hurt by the incident. She's not this kind of person, not even close to being this kind of person. To think of her doing something like this is outrageous."

Ferguson, 20, of Laguna Hills, Calif., was arrested Saturday on two counts of violation of terrorism laws. She is being held in the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu awaiting a detention hearing tomorrow in federal court.

Ferguson admitted writing two notes threatening to kill all U.S. citizens aboard the Legend of the Seas if the ship, which had sailed from Ensenada, Mexico, stopped at an American port, U.S. Attorney Edward Kubo said.

The discovery of the threats on April 22 and 23 in a sixth-deck public restroom led authorities to reroute the ship to an anchorage off Honolulu so FBI could search the vessel and question its 2,400 passengers and crew members. The diversion canceled the ship's scheduled stop at Hilo.

More than 120 members of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force scoured the Royal Caribbean ship for biological, chemical, radiological and explosive weapons, officials said.

During the investigation, Ferguson admitted writing the notes, Kubo said, hoping that she could return home to see her boyfriend.

"The defendant said she never wanted to go on this cruise ship with her family to begin with and that she wrote these notes hoping that it would shorten her time on the cruise," Kubo said.

Brashear told KCAL-TV that Ferguson was probably contrite.

"What do you think she's thinking right now," he said. "And, how much she wishes she could probably be with me right now. How much she knows she's messed up and wishes she probably never would have done it."

The charges against Ferguson each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Kubo said his office also would seek restitution for the cost of the investigation.

Pamela Byrne, Ferguson's public defender, said, "Instead of being charged as a terrorist, she should have been charged with being a teenager."


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