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Man who killed elephant seal with handgun sentenced to prison

A Utah man who fatally shot an elephant seal was sentenced to prison on Monday, NBC News reported

Suspect Jordan Gerbich shot the marine mammal in the head in 2019 after being egged on by an intoxicated friend “as a kind of grotesque test,” according to court documents cited by NBC News.

The shooting occurred at night and the mammal was later found with its tail fins cut off and cut open, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told the outlet.

Gerbich’s attorney said in a court document that his client was shocked at the killing being “so unusual and troubling,” even citing his past issues with substance abuse and childhood abuse and neglect. 

However, prosecutors argued that the killing “did not happen by accident or on a whim,” NBC News reported, and that the pair drove to the place where the mammals live and Gerbich brought a handgun with him. 

Gerbich will spend three months in prison followed by a three month home detention sentence and will have to perform 120 hours of community service, including paying a $1,000 fine, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California said.

Gerbich, 30, pleaded guilty to the crime in December.

Tags California Elephant seal

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