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Idaho man who shot at crop duster ordered to explain in newspaper ad

SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - An Idaho man convicted of firing his shotgun at a crop dusting plane has been ordered by a judge to take out a half-page newspaper ad explaining why it was a bad idea, a local prosecutor said on Tuesday

A jury in March convicted Christopher Lewis, 42, of Twin Falls, of shooting at a crop duster in August in the southern Idaho farming community because he was irritated by the flyover, said Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs.

Loebs sought a sentence of 15 years in prison with 12 years suspended for the felony of discharging a firearm at an aircraft.

Idaho District Judge Randy Stoker instead sentenced Lewis to three years of supervised probation while ordering him to take out the newspaper ad.

"You'd think it wouldn't take half a page to explain why it's wrong to shoot at an airplane," Loebs said.

He said the punishment for Lewis was insufficient given the seriousness of the crime.

"We believe that shooting at planes with people in them while flying over populated areas is a dangerous thing," Loebs said.

Lewis, who could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday, was also ordered by Stoker to present a program to young hunters spelling out his mistake.

(Reporting by Laura Zuckerman; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Andrew Hay)

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