'Drone Slayer' claims victory in court
BULLITT COUNTY, KY (WAVE) – The man who calls himself the "Drone Slayer" called a judge's decision a victory.
Bullitt County Judge Rebecca Ward on Monday dismissed the case against William H. Merideth, who admitted to shooting down a drone he said was hovering over his home last July.
"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," Ward told the courtroom. "And I'm going to dismiss his charge."
The drone's owner, David Boggs, appeared stunned with the ruling.
"I'm dumbfounded," he said. "I really am. I don't think that the court looked at what really took place here."
Boggs contends his drone flew past Merideth's home at more than 200 feet above it, and didn't hover.
"I just want him to do the right thing." Boggs said. "His neighbors, he knows, everybody knows that no way (were) we under 100-and-something feet. That never happened. And so if they said, then they're not telling the truth."
Experts at UoL's Speed School of Engineering say get ready for more cases like this.
"People are maybe not quite sure of where the boundaries are while they're waiting for the law to catch up," Associate Professor of computer engineering and computer science Adrian Lauf said.
Lauf said bad press is pressuring drone manufacturers and the FAA to make the rules clear.
"If we practice more common sense, we probably wouldn't have as many shotguns shooting drones down, nor would we have people who feel threatened," he said.
Merideth also was facing a charge for firing his gun in a residential neighborhood. That charge was dismissed as well.
"I feel good," Merideth said. "I feel vindicated. Police told me there was nothing they could do about it. Nobody would do anything about it, so I did something about it.
"I was being watched. It was an invasion of privacy and I just, I wouldn't put up with it no more."
Boggs said he was with a group of people while flying the drone who would tell a different story if asked to testify. He has the opportunity to appeal his case in front of a grand jury. He said he's eager for the chance.
"This is a victory for him today, I guess," Boggs said. "But it's far from over."
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