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California flight stowaway released from jail after three days

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A woman with a history of sneaking aboard commercial flights was released from a Los Angeles County jail after serving only three days of a six-month sentence because of overcrowding in the lockup, authorities said on Monday.

Marilyn Jean Hartman, 62, walked out of the jail on Saturday evening, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Deputy Amber Smith.

She was sentenced on Wednesday to 177 days in jail for violating her probation by wandering around Los Angeles International Airport without an airline ticket, against the orders of a judge, said Los Angeles City Attorney's Office spokesman Frank Mateljan.

The probation sentence stemmed from Hartman's no contest plea to a misdemeanor stowaway charge following her arrest earlier this month for illegally boarding a Southwest Airlines flight from San Jose to Los Angeles. She sneaked into the cabin of the plane after slipping past a document check at the airport in San Jose.

Hartman was released early because of overcrowding in the Los Angeles jail system, Mateljan said.

The Los Angeles Times has reported that female inmates in the county are often released after serving as little as 5 percent of their sentences because of chronically overcrowded jails.

Hartman had previously been sentenced to probation and referred to a mental health residence in May after she was arrested at the San Francisco airport for boarding a flight to Hawaii without a ticket and for trespassing at the airport.

Her successful evasion of security at the San Jose airport earlier this month followed the high-profile journey of a 15-year-old Somali immigrant boy who scaled a fence at the airport, climbed into a plane wheel well and managed to survive a flight to Hawaii.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Tom Brown)

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