The owner of a fish farm pleaded not guilty to 36 counts of illegally killing migratory birds and making false statements to federal investigators. A federal grand jury in Fresno indicted Marvin Carpenter and charged him with illegally killing more than 6,000 birds that were feeding on his commercial goldfish at ponds near El Nido south of Merced. U.S. Atty. David Levi said the indictment alleges “the most serious and grotesque slaughter of protected migratory birds over a period of years.” In 1984 and 1987, Carpenter was issued U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permits to kill 50 birds by shotgun each year. The indictment charges that Carpenter instead killed thousands. Tony Capozzi, Carpenter’s lawyer, said after the Kesterson National Wildlife Refuge closed in 1986, many of the birds migrated to Carpenter’s 450-acre ranch.