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Judge Rules Kentucky Man Had Every Right To Shoot Down Drone Over His Home

The Kentucky man who was was cited for criminal mischief and wanton endangerment for shooting down a drone that was hovering over his home last July has been cleared of all charges.

Judge Rebecca Ward, who presided over the case in Bullitt County District Court, dismissed all charges against William Meredith, the man who was dubbed the "drone slayer," after three witnesses confirmed that the unmanned aircraft was flying around his property.

"I think it's credible testimony that his drone was hovering from anywhere, for two or three times over these people's property, that it was an invasion of their privacy and that they had the right to shoot this drone," Ward said in court. "And I'm going to dismiss his charge."

According to the owner of the DJI Phantom 3 drone, David Boggs, the judge quickly dismissed the wanton endangerment charge after finding that no lives were in danger, and failed to look at all the evidence. Boggs, a contractor and former pastor, said that his drone did not hover over Meredith's property and uploaded a video on YouTube that he claims is the "actual video footage" of the incident.

Meredith was at his home in Louisville on July 26 when his daughter informed him that a drone was flying above his house. The 47-year-old then picked up his shotgun that was loaded with birdshot and shot the drone down. The drone slayer was shortly arrested and charged with first-degree criminal mischief and spent the night in jail.

Since the drone was found to be flying "below the tree line," it appears that Meredith had the right to shoot it down. There are no laws in Kentucky that specifically regulate or prohibit private drones.

Boggs plans to file a civil suit against Meredith and said he will start the process with his lawyer this week.

Source: Ars Technica

Photo: Richard Unten | Flickr

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