Authorities: Man facing domestic violence charges intentionally crashes plane in California

A pilot killed himself by intentionally crashing his plane into a field in California a day after pleading not guilty to domestic violence charges, authorities said Tuesday

Zachary Cain Stickler, 34, entered the plea on Friday in Shasta County Superior Court to a felony count of making criminal threats and a misdemeanor battery charge, Chief Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett said.

The charges stemmed from an argument in February in Redding that escalated and became physical, Bridgett said. The victim was dating Stickler, and the two were living together.

She declined to provide more detail, saying she wanted to protect the victim's privacy.

Stickler committed suicide by crashing into a pasture on Saturday morning, Shasta County Sheriff's Deputy Dustin Reynolds said. Sheriff's officials responded to a report of an explosion around 8:30 a.m. and found a small debris field at the site where the single-engine Cessna crashed.

Reynolds said text messages Stickler sent to friends and family before he crashed indicated he was distraught and planned to kill himself. There was no indication he wanted to hurt anyone else, Reynolds said.