Hayden airplane shooter sentenced

Hayden airplane shooter sentenced

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This is the biplane McCay is charged with shooting at. Source: WBRC video This is the biplane McCay is charged with shooting at. Source: WBRC video
HAYDEN, AL (WBRC) -

A Hayden man who admitted to shooting at an airplane over his home has been sentenced to one year of probation.

Jason Allen McCay pleaded guilty to firing at the antique aircraft last June. He was indicted last July for attempting to interfere with the operation of an aircraft. Authorities say McCay shot at a renovated 1943 Boeing Stearman Bi-Plane being flown by an 81-year-old man who owns and operates an airfield near McCay's home.

His defense attorney said today that imprisonment in the case would be "greater than necessary punishment." He added that McCay does not have a criminal history, that he's a father and husband, and this action is not like him.

The judge agreed, and said that's why she sentenced him only to probation and no prison time. She said if McCay's probation officer deems it necessary for him to go through anger management classes, he will have to complete those. Another option would be cognitive therapy, classes designed to help people make better choices and not act on impulse.

While McCay's attorney Bill Meyers is pleased with the sentence, McCay's stepmother is agitated at the media attention the case received.

"Shocked at the publicity because it's not giving both sides of it," she said.

During today's hearing, McCay stood before the judge and said he was sorry for the incident. The judge acknowledged the apology, but said she didn't like the way it was phrased. She comparing it to a politician's apologizing for the public misunderstanding his work, not an apology for the actual action.

In addition to the probation time, McCay will also have a felony conviction on his record, which will bar him from possessing firearms or ammunition.

While Campbell and his friend Joe Dailey were unaware of the shooting at the time, Dailey, who flew with Campbell that day, says it could have turned out far worse.

"You have something happen that close to the ground, you can go haywire. All sorts of things can happen to you. Catastrophic things," Dailey said.

The plane involved in the shooting was featured in a FOX6 report of "Absolutely Alabama."

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