Man pleads guilty to killing bald eagle because it was a ‘menace’
By Jennifer Cruz
A man from Smithfield, Virginia, pleaded guilty Tuesday to allegations that he killed a bald eagle on March 13.
According to court documents, Allen Thacker, 62, killed the bald eagle by first shooting it, then running it over with an all-terrain vehicle.
Thacker, who said he was upset because the bird was eating the fish out of a pond on his property, told investigators he first fired a warning shot to scare aware the bird, but it didn’t work. After that, according to Thacker, he shot the eagle with a .22-caliber rifle then used a pistol to “finish the eagle off.” Thacker initially denied running over the bird with an ATV.
However, a witness account, as well as a necropsy performed on the bird, prove otherwise.
The unnamed witness told authorities that she saw a man on a red ATV driving around in circles as he ran over what appeared to be a bald eagle at least three to four times. Then, the witness said, the suspect dragged the bird into a nearby wooded area.
Authorities learned that Thacker owned a red ATV like the one described by the witness. Thacker later took authorities to the wooded area, where the deceased eagle was found.