A Kentucky judge has dismissed a first-degree criminal mischief charge against William Meredith, who shot down a quadcopter drone that he says was hovering over his home. The initial news stories about the incident state that Meredith shot the drone as it passed over his yard, claiming that he had seen it hovering in a neighbor’s yard first, and that the drone appeared to be taking footage of property covered by a canopy. When his daughter told him that the drone was flying over his property, the 47 year old Meredith followed the drone and shot it down.
Meredith, dubbed “the drone slayer” by locals, says that he was simply protecting his privacy; David Boggs, the owner of the $1800 drone, claims that he was just taking pictures of a friend’s house and flew over Meredith’s property without hovering.
Judge Rebecca Ward sided with Meredith’s side of the story, after three witnesses were called saying that they saw the drone flying “below the tree line.”
“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,” Judge Ward told the courtroom. “And I’m going to dismiss his charge.”
Meredith claimed victory, telling KY News Wave3, “I don’t believe I should ever have been charged. The drone was trespassing. I had the right.”
The drone’s owner indicated that he was both surprised and disappointed with the judge’s ruling. “I’m dumbfounded,” Boggs told reporters outside the courthouse. “I really am. I don’t think that the court looked at what really took place here.”
Boggs indicated that he looks forward to the opportunity to appeal the ruling.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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