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Verdict mixed on laser incident

A Buffalo man was convicted Wednesday of disorderly conduct but cleared of another charge for pointing a green laser device at a commercial aircraft and an Erie County sheriff's helicopter last Sept. 17. However, Eric Voigt, 21, of Griswold Street was found not guilty of the misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment.

The verdict was reached by State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns following a two-day nonjury trial. Voigt did not testify.

The judge said that while Voigt created a risk by pointing the laser device at a FedEx airliner and the helicopter, the prosecution presented no evidence that Voigt was aware he could have disoriented the pilots.

Voigt was the one of three men arrested for the incident to be prosecuted. Frank LoTempio III, Voigt's attorney, also emphasized that there was no evidence Voigt's actions created a serious risk of disaster.

Voigt, who was allowed to remain free pending sentencing April 15, faces a maximum jail term of 15 days and a fine of up to $250.

At hearing the verdict, Voigt jumped up and down and shook his lawyer's hand.

Voigt's father, Timothy Voigt, 43, also of Griswold, and family friend Bradley J. Campbell, 29, of Barnard Street were arrested on felony reckless endangerment charges. However, a grand jury said there was insufficient evidence to indict them.

LoTempio called the trial verdict "appropriate" given the evidence in the case.


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