Bush Pardons Eagle Killer

Bush lets off man who indirectly poisoned birds
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 1, 2008 11:02 AM CST
Bush Pardons Eagle Killer
Leslie Owen Collier stands next to a tractor on his farm in Charleston, Mo., Friday, Nov. 28, 2008.    (Brad Chamness)

Twelve years after pleading guilty to federal charges in the deaths of three bald eagles, Leslie Owen Collier learned last week that his name was cleared: He was pardoned by President Bush. "I guess I was humbled is the best way to say it—I never thought it would happen," Collier, 50, said. "It was emotional. I almost came to tears, really."

In 1995, Collier “got it in my head that if I eliminated some of the coyotes,” it would offer wild turkeys, whose population seemed to be increasing, “a jump-start" on their comeback, he said. So he put out poisoned meat in an effort to kill the coyotes. Seven died, but so did federally protected eagles who ate them. Collier became a convicted felon and was ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution. (Read more bald eagle stories.)

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