Saturday, May 26, 2018

Oklahoma City man sentenced for aiming laser pointer at police helicopter

Travis Allen Jones 


An Oklahoma City man apologized Tuesday for aiming a green laser pointer at a police helicopter last year.

"I'm sorry to my family and anyone I harmed in this," Travis Allen Jones told an Oklahoma City federal judge during his sentencing for the felony crime. "I've learned that my actions have repercussions."

Jones' use of heroin played a factor in his "foolish" behavior that night, his defense attorney said.

U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton sentenced Jones to three years probation. The judge also ordered Jones do 104 hours of community service and pay about $500 in restitution to the Oklahoma City Police Department.

The Federal Aviation Administration also is seeking a civil penalty of $17,500 related to the case, records show. That matter is unresolved, Jones' attorney said.

During the sentencing, Jones told the judge that this experience has been "eye-opening" and allowed him to make some serious life changes. Jones, 30, of Oklahoma City, is now sober.

The judge commended Jones for maintaining his sobriety but called his offense "serious."

"You jeopardized lives," the judge said.

In reaching the probationary punishment, the judge noted this was Jones' first offense.

Prosecutors and defense attorney Jeffrey Byers asked the judge to sentence Jones to probation.

"The circumstances did not suggest that pilots or passengers of the aircraft were in immediate peril," prosecutors wrote in a court document.

Jones pleaded guilty in December to aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft. Others in Oklahoma have been accused of doing the same thing in recent years.

In 2012, Oklahoma City federal prosecutors accused a man of aiming a laser at a police helicopter. That case, though, was dismissed.

A Tulsa man was sentenced to three years probation in 2015 after he admitted to pointing a laser at a police helicopter.

What happened

Late July 29, Oklahoma City police were contacted about a commercial airliner being struck with a green laser light while landing at Will Rogers World Airport. A police helicopter responded to the area and was also hit by the laser, records show.

Ground patrols located Jones and another man in an open field near a campfire in south Oklahoma City, police reported. A green laser pointer was found on Jones, records show.

Jones became dependent on pain medication after a car wreck in 2010, according to his attorney. Jones later "graduated" to heroin, the defense attorney said.

Jones now is committed to a sober lifestyle, passing dozens of drug tests and participating in over 120 Narcotics Anonymous meetings, according to his attorney.

Jones currently works as a machinist.

Story and photo ➤ https://newsok.com

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