Virginia man pleads guilty to shooting bald eagle, running it over

Bald eagle (Pixabay)

SMITHFIELD, Va. (WAVY) — A Smithfield man accused of shooting a bald eagle and then running it over with his ATV has pleaded guilty, authorities say.

The U.S. Department of Justice Eastern District of Virginia says 62-year-old Allen H. Thacker faces a maximum of one year in prison and a $100,000 for the crime.

Authorities say Thacker shot the eagle because he was upset it had been hunting and taking fishing from a pond on his property.

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Court records indicate Thacker first tried to scare the bird off with a warning shot before shooting it with a .22 caliber rifle. A necropsy performed on the eagle found the gunshot wounded it, but a blunt force trauma to the bird’s head ultimately proved fatal.

Thacker initially denied it when interview by investigators. However, authorities saya witness reported having seen Thacker run over the eagle with his ATV.

Thacker fully admitted to the crime when he pleaded Tuesday. He scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 23.

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