Sunday, March 26, 2006

Man Sentenced for Shooting at Toy Plane

A man has been sentenced to six months' probation for shooting at his neighbor's radio-controlled model airplanes with a shotgun.

David Nuttle, 41, of Washtenaw County's Webster Township, pleaded guilty to one count of malicious destruction of property worth less than $200, a misdemeanor.

Judge Richard Conlin of 14-A District Court in Chelsea sentenced him Thursday to six months of probation and 50 hours of community service. Conlin also gave him a 20-day suspended jail sentence, deferred as long as Nuttle complies with the conditions of his probation, which includes no alcohol or drugs and no contact with the planes' owner.

Nuttle also must pay $154 restitution and $550 in fines and court fees.

Nuttle used a .410-gauge shotgun to shoot at the planes. He said his shots hit only one plane, causing two tiny holes in it. The plane he is paying for crashed when the child who was operating it lost control of it after being frightened by the shots, Nuttle said.

Nuttle told the judge he regretted his actions.

"I felt I was defending my family and my property from these airplanes, and I called police several times," he said. "But I made a bad decision that day and I realize that."

Nuttle told The Ann Arbor News after the hearing that the planes have been a nuisance to his family, scaring his children, spooking his chickens and causing his goats to faint from exhaustion.



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