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Federal pen for Mass. man who aimed laser at police chopper

52-year-old Gerard Sasso targeted a Mass. state police helicopter as it escorted a tanker ship through Boston Harbor

Associated Press

BOSTON — A man convicted of shining a laser beam into a police helicopter escorting a gas tanker through Boston Harbor has been sentenced to three years in federal prison.

Prosecutors say 52-year-old Medford, Mass., resident Gerard Sasso is the second person in the nation and first in his state to be convicted of pointing a laser at an aircraft.

They say Sasso targeted the state police helicopter at night in December 2007 and flooded the cockpit with green light. Pilots directed local police to the light source.

Sasso was sentenced Monday on charges including willfully interfering with an aircraft operator with reckless disregard for human life. His attorney hasn't returned a message seeking comment.

A man convicted in California of shining a laser at two airplanes and temporarily blinding a pilot was sentenced in November 2009 to 2 1/2 years.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press

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