Spikes man sentenced for shooting at chopper - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Sikes man sentenced for shooting at chopper

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ALEXANDRIA, La., (KNOE 8 News) - James Lamar Kelly of Sikes, La., has been sentenced for 41 months in prison for shooting at a Louisiana Army National Guard Helicopter.

Kelly was convicted in federal court on four felony counts related to the incident.

U. S. District Judge Dee D. Drell also sentenced Kelly to three years supervised release at the completion of his prison term and forfeiture of the firearm.

Kelly had been convicted by a jury in September 2012 on three counts of endangering the safety of the pilot of a Louisiana Army National Guard helicopter in flight, committing an act of violence against the pilot, and using a deadly and dangerous weapon to forcibly assault, resist, oppose, impede, intimidate and interfere with the pilot.

Kelly was also sentenced for his conviction of theft of United States mail.

Testimony at trial showed that on August 2, 2010, the Louisiana State Police and the Winn Parish Sheriff's Office were conducting a marijuana eradication program detail in Winn Parish. Louisiana Army National Guard (LANG) Counter-Drug Task Force helicopters based at Camp Beauregard in Pineville were assisting in this program by providing pilots and helicopters for the Louisiana State Police to conduct aerial surveillance.

The LANG Counter Drug Task Force is funded and staffed by the U.S. Department of Defense. A Louisiana State Trooper was in each helicopter to make observations of areas where it was suspected marijuana was being cultivated. At about 3:00 p.m., on Shell Road near Sikes, La., one of these helicopters was fired upon by a person on the ground. The pilot took evasive action and immediately left the area. He landed at the airport in Natchitoches and inspected the helicopter for damage. No bullet holes were noted. Neither the pilot nor the Trooper on board was injured.

Soon thereafter, Louisiana State Police Troopers, Winn Parish Sheriff's Deputies, and a Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Agent located and arrested James Lamar Kelly without incident. They also recovered the 9 mm semi-automatic handgun that Kelly used to shoot at the helicopter.

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