WICHITA FALLS — An Olney man pleaded guilty in Wichita Falls Tuesday to charges of shooting up an airplane.
Stephen Paul Riley, 41, appeared in federal court before U.S. District Judge Reed C. O’Connor, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Dallas.
Riley, who will remain on bond, faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the release. Sentencing is set for May 21.
According to documents filed in the case the incident occurred Feb. 22, 2008. A pilot flew his crop-dusting aircraft over property adjacent to the Flying Lead Ranch owned and occupied by Riley. The documents claimed Riley shot the aircraft with a firearm, striking it with multiple bullets. One bullet struck the rudder cable and nearly severed it. A bullet or bullet fragment also struck the V-strut bar, approximately one and one-half inches from the connector bolt. Bullets, or bullet fragments, caused a hole in the aircraft’s left rear wing and indentations on the plane’s left side. The bullet holes and other damage indicated that the aircraft had been shot by someone on the ground discharging a firearm upward into the air. The aircraft was leased by Keeter Aerial Spraying of Olney.
Documents also claimed that prior to the incident, Riley threatened Keeter’s owner, both in person and by phone, that he would shoot down any crop-duster that flew over his hunting ranch.
In August 2010, officials with Texas Parks and Wildlife, seeking evidence of illegal hunting, executed a search warrant at the Riley's property and discovered a disc that contained video footage of Riley firing approximately 23 shots at another Keeter aircraft spraying the same field in July 2007. In September 2010, when questioned by a Texas Ranger, Riley admitted to shooting at Keeter aircraft on more than one occasion.
The case is being investigated by the Texas Rangers and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Miller is in charge of the prosecution.
Riley's ranch specialized in offering a place for hunting of deer, turkey and other game. When authorities searched his property, they reportedly found video showing Riley shooting at cropduster planes. The search also produced theft charges against Riley. Attempted murder charges were filed against him by Palo Pinto County authorities in connection with the airplane shootings.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Home for Good Dog Rescue Gives Four Lucky Canines a New Leash on Life: Monmouth Executive Airport (KBLM), Belmar/Farmingdale, New Jersey
Home for Good Dog Rescue, a Summit-based foster center for dogs, gave four lucky canines a soaring start for great new lives on Sunday at Monmouth Executive Airport.
Credits: Home for Good Dog Rescue
SUMMIT, NJ - Home for Good Dog Rescue, a Summit-based foster center for dogs, gave four lucky canines a soaring start for great new lives on Sunday at Monmouth Executive Airport.
The four dogs, Bert, Ernie, Cassie and Cedric, were flown into Monmouth from South Carolina by a non-profit volunteer group of pilots called Pilots N Paws on Thursday afternoon just after 1:30 p.m. This was the first time the organization had used air, instead of driving vans, as a means of travel for the animals.
Volunteers from Home for Good Dog Rescue greeted them with signs and smiling faces, according Rob Cicirelli, the organization’s director of marketing and operations.
“It was a lot of organizing but definitely worth it,” Cicirelli said. “It was awesome.”
According to Cicirelli, the date was changed twice for the event due to weather and preparing the dogs. The pilots landed earlier than originally anticipated, but it was a great outcome for the dogs, pilots and volunteers.
“We definitely plan on working with Pilots N Paws again,” Cicirelli said. “It’s good to work with someone with the same goals.”
Cedric, a 12-week-old lab mix, was adopted on Monday night. Cicirelli said the other three won't be far off, since applications to adopt them have already been submitted. He expects them to be adopted within the week.
Since the organization’s launch in August 2010, they have placed 1,600 dogs in homes, with 800 adopted out last year alone. Their return rate for dogs is four percent, compared to the eight percent national average. For Cicirelli, it is about quality of the homes for the dogs, not quantity.
“We want to make sure these dogs find the right home,” he said.
All of the dogs are held in foster families after they are picked up weekly by the organization. Home for Good Dog Rescue does not have a shelter, but Cicirelli says this better acclimates the dogs to a family environment. The next adoption event is being held on Saturday, Feb. 2, at Petsmart in Bridgewater from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Anyone interested in adopting a dog can visit the organization’s website at www.homeforgooddogs.org to fill out an application and set up a meet and greet with the dog. To donate, visit the site or send donations to PO Box 324, Summit, NJ 07902.