Texan gets prison for shooting into crop duster

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Associated Press

Posted on March 12, 2013 at 6:02 AM

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — A West Texas man has been sentenced to 1½ years in federal prison for shooting into a crop duster as the plane sprayed a neighbor's fields.

Prosecutors in Lubbock on Monday announced 69-year-old James R. Cate of Talpa (TAL'-puh) must also pay $297,000 in restitution. Cate in November pleaded guilty to making a threat to an aircraft in the February 2012 incident that left the plane heavily damaged.

Investigators say Cate fired into the air to try to keep the chemical-dumping plane away from his fields.

One round hit the propeller, went through the engine cowling and into the chemical hopper. A bullet fragment tore through the leg of the pilot's pants. The pilot wasn't injured.

Cate was sentenced Friday and must report to prison April 12.

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