A Virginia man pleaded guilty Tuesday to killing a bald eagle by shooting it and running the animal over.
The Justice Department said Allen H. Thacker, 62, shot the animal “because he was upset it had been hunting and taking fish from a pond located on his property,” according to a statement filed with the plea agreement.
Thacker reportedly tried to scare the bald eagle away with a warning shot and then shot the bird when that didn’t work, according to the Justice Department statement. While the bald eagle was left wounded but still alive, the statement said, a witness reported seeing Thacker drive over the bird with an ATV. An autopsy revealed that the cause of death was blunt-force trauma to the skull, according to the Justice Department.
After initially denying the he ran over the bird, Thacker admitted to both the shooting and running over the bald eagled in court records filed Tuesday.
As part of the plea deal, Thacker faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. He is scheduled for sentencing on Oct. 23.