2 Vinalhaven men sentenced for shooting arrows at seal, birds

Posted May 12, 2011, at 11:40 a.m.
Last modified May 12, 2011, at 4:12 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — Two Vinalhaven residents were sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court for attempting to kill federally protected marine mammals and attempting to kill federally protected migratory birds.

Stacey Wadleigh, 41, and Lawrence Sanborn, 31, each pleaded guilty in January to two counts — the taking of a federally protected marine mammal and the taking of a federally protected migratory bird.

Although federal prosecutors could not prove the pair killed or wounded any animals, the law includes attempting to kill federally protected mammals and birds, according Assistant U.S. Attorney James Moore.

By pleading guilty, both men admitted to shooting arrows at a harbor seal, migratory birds, gulls and black guillemots in Carvers Harbor.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John H. Rich III on Wednesday sentenced Sanborn to three days in jail, Moore said Thursday. Wadleigh performed 300 hours of community service before his sentence in lieu of jail time.

Rich ordered the men to pay a $500 fine on each count.

If the case had gone to trial, at least two witnesses were prepared to testify that they saw Wadleigh and Sanborn shooting arrows at seals and birds on Sept. 16, 2009, when the defendants were “running around Carvers Harbor in a Carolina skiff,” according to the prosecution version of events to which they pleaded guilty.

Wadleigh and Sanborn admitted in a Nov. 6, 2009, interview with investigators that they had been firing arrows at seals and birds two months earlier, the prosecution version stated.

Each faced up to a year in federal prison and fines of up to $115,000.

Both were free on personal recognizance bail but forbidden from possessing firearms or other dangerous weapons such as bows and arrows while awaiting sentencing. Other bail conditions of release include not consuming alcohol and seeking substance abuse treatment.

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