Orlando Man Convicted of Shining Laser at Orange County Sheriff’s Office Helicopter
ORLANDO, FL—United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that a federal jury has found Joseph Parrott (31, Orlando) guilty of aiming the beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States. Parrott faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for February 2, 2015. Parrott was indicted on September 3, 2014.
According to testimony presented at trial, at approximately 3:00 a.m. on July 2, 2014, an Orange County Sheriff’s Office helicopter was responding to an attempted burglary in Orlando near East Colonial Drive. While flying to the scene, a bright green light, later determined to be a laser beam, repeatedly illuminated the helicopter’s cockpit. Deputies in the helicopter traced the source of the laser beam to a car on East Colonial Drive. Deputies on the ground pulled the car over. Evidence at trial proved that Parrott, a passenger in the car, knowingly aimed the laser beam at the helicopter at least four times.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Christopher LaForgia and Embry J. Kidd.