Coleman County, Texas, Man Charged in Federal Indictment With Destruction of an Aircraft
LUBBOCK, Texas — A federal grand jury in Lubbock returned an indictment yesterday charging James R. Cate, 68, of Talpa, Texas, with one count of destruction of an aircraft, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas. A summons will be issued for his initial appearance in federal court at a later, undetermined date.
The indictment alleges that on February 29, 2012, Cate knowingly and willfully damaged an Air Tractor AT502B aircraft, tail number N5039J, which was a civil aircraft used and employed in interstate commerce.
A federal indictment is an accusation by a grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. If convicted, however, the offense carries a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.
The investigation is being conducted by the FBI and the Federal Aviation Administration. Deputy Criminal Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise Williams is in charge of the prosecution.
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