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California Woman Sentenced For Shining Laser at Helicopters

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A federal judge in California sentenced a woman to two years behind bars Monday for aiming a laser pointer at law enforcement helicopters, prosecutors said.

Jennifer Lorraine Coleman, 24, and her boyfriend, Sergio Patrick Rodriguez, 26, both of Clovis, Calif., were convicted by a federal jury after a trial in Fresno in December 2013, according to a statement from the office of U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner.

Rodriguez was sentenced March 10 to 14 years in prison for his participation in the incident, according to a separate statement from prosecutors. The sentence is believed to be the longest ever given in a laser-strike case, the statement said.

The couple were convicted for actions on an August 2012 night when they pointed a green laser at an emergency transport helicopter for Children's Hospital of Central California, according to a copy of the criminal complaint obtained by NBC News. The pair then shined the laser into the cockpit of a Fresno police helicopter, according to prosecutors.

The laser pointer the couple used was "13 times more powerful than the permissible power emission level for hand-held laser devices," prosecutors said.

Rodriguez received a longer sentence than Coleman because the judge in the case considered his "significant criminal history, numerous probation violations" and gang affiliation, according to prosecutors' statement.

He was convicted of attempted interference with persons engaged in the operation of an aircraft. Coleman, for her part, was found guilty of aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft.

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