Walthill Man Sentenced for Shooting a Bald Eagle and Rough Legged Hawk
United States Attorney Deborah R. Gilg announced today that Lamar Bertucci, Sr., age 45 of Walthill, Nebraska, was sentenced for his violations of the Bald and Golden Eagle Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Senior United States District Court Judge Lyle E. Strom sentenced Bertucci to eight months of imprisonment to be followed by one year of supervised release. Bertucci was further ordered to pay restitution of $6,500.
On February 10, 2014, residents of Macy, Nebraska, heard gunshots and observed a car in a field where two bald eagles were located. Fearing that the eagles were being shot, the residents called law enforcement. A tribal game warden was in the area and responded to the scene as the car was exiting the field. A brief chase ensued and Bertucci was arrested after his vehicle developed mechanical problems. A search of the vehicle yielded a dead bald eagle. A trace of the route the car had traveled yielded a rifle and a rough legged hawk which had been recently shot. Bertucci admitted to shooting both the eagle and the hawk.
At the time of sentencing, Bertucci objected to the method used by the government to value the bald eagle and the hawk in determining the applicable sentencing guideline range. Judge Strom denied Bertucci’s objections and announced his sentencing guideline calculations were the same as the Probation Office’s calculations. In this respect, the Presentence Investigation Report placed a value of $10,000 per bald eagle and $1,750 per hawk. However, for the separate purposes of restitution, after considering Bertucci’s financial circumstances, Judge Strom announced that he was imposing an order of restitution in the amount of $6,500 which consisted of $5,000 for the bald eagle count and $1,500 for the rough legged hawk count.
Bertucci had been charged in March of 2009 with similar violations of the Bald and Golden Eagle Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. He pleaded guilty to one count of possession of bald eagle feathers and was sentenced on October 14, 2009.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.