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Jail Time For Pointing Laser At Pilots

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A 19-year-old man who pointed a powerful laser at a Netjets Cessna Citation and then at a police helicopter that responded to the pilot's complaints in Burbank, Calif., was sentenced on Monday to 30 months in prison. Adam Gardenhire pleaded guilty to the charge, which was made a federal crime last year. At sentencing, "Gardenhire basically argued that it wasn't dangerous, that he couldn't have known it was dangerous -- that basically he was just bored and entertaining himself," said Asst. U.S. Atty. Melissa Mills. "The judge found the facts didn't bear that out and his behavior was reckless and very dangerous."

Gardenhire was in his back yard, about a half-mile south of the airport, when he pointed the commercial-grade laser at the Citation on approach to land. The pilot was temporarily blinded and his vision was impaired for several hours, prosecutors said. Gardenhire's case was the second to be prosecuted under the new federal law; the other case, also in California, is still in court. Gardenhire remains free pending an appeal.

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