I Wonder if Dana "Christian" Welch Had A Conversion
From the Orange County Register:
Man gets prison for pointing laser at airliners
Dana Welch of Orange was first person to be convicted of laser interference with pilots.
Dana Welch, 36, of Orange was sentenced Monday to 2 1/2 years in federal prison for pointing a laser beam at two aircraft.
LOS ANGELES — An Orange County man who aimed a laser beam at two airliners on approach to John Wayne Airport was sentenced Monday in Los Angeles to 2 1/2 years in federal prison for disrupting the flights.
When found guilty in April, Dana Christian Welch, 37, of Orange, was the first person in the nation to be convicted at trial of interfering with pilots by aiming lasers at their planes, federal officials said.
Welch aimed a hand-held laser at two Boeing 7-series jets as the pilots were about to land the aircraft at John Wayne Airport on the night of May 21, 2008, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherilyn Peace Garnett said.
The first plane, a United Airlines jet, was carrying more than 180 passengers and crew members. The second, operated by Alaska Airlines, was carrying more than 80 people.
The laser beam struck a United pilot in the eye, causing "flash blindness," Garnett said.
When Welch pointed the laser at the Alaska plane, one pilot ducked under a glare shield and the other pilot delayed a critical turn necessary to land the plane.
After he was arrested the next day, Welch admitted he had pointed the laser at the planes and a law enforcement helicopter that had been dispatched to investigate the incidents.
A U.S. District Court jury in downtown Los Angeles acquitted Welch of charges that he attempted to interfere with the pilots of the helicopter and a Delta Air Lines flight.
While several people across the country have pleaded guilty to federal charges of pointing lasers at aircraft, Welch was the first to be convicted of interfering with pilots by beaming lasers at their planes, the U.S. Attorney's Office noted.
Welch was also ordered by Senior U.S. District Judge Robert J. Timlin to serve three years of supervised release upon his release from prison, Garnett said.