RI man pleads guilty to shining light at plane

January 21, 2011

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PROVIDENCE, R.I.—A Rhode Island man has pleaded guilty to shining a green laser light into the cockpit of a passenger airplane, momentarily blinding the pilot.

Joseph Aquino pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Providence. The 31-year-old Warwick man admitted that he interfered with the flight as it made its final approach to T.F. Green Airport in September.

Warwick police confronted Aquino after a person pulling a boat into the marina in the Oakland Beach area reported that a laser light had been directed at him and his crew. The person told police that someone on the nearby beach could have been responsible for the laser light. Police found Aquino, who later admitted to flashing the light at the plane.

Aquino faces up to 20 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for April 21.