Sea Lion Killer Gets Maximum Penalty

A man who pleaded no contest to killing a sea lion near the Redondo Beach harbor last year was given the maximum sentence Monday of one year in prison, a $500 fine and one year probation.

Randolph T. Mansfield, 36, of Long Beach was charged with killing the federally protected mammal by feeding it an explosive device hidden inside a sardine.

The sea lion, which boaters in the Redondo Beach harbor called "Bobo," bled to death and was discovered floating near the harbor in November. Boaters and nearby marine residents said Bobo was like a pet to them and would often take a fish from their hands.

Co-defendant Steven E. Mitchell, 34, of Redondo Beach, who pleaded no contest to aiding and abetting in the killing, was sentenced to 60 days in a community treatment center, a $500 fine, five years' probation and 1,200 hours of community service.

Both Mansfield and Mitchell are free on bail and are scheduled to begin serving their terms in three weeks, according to Assistant U.S. Atty. Alice C. Hill.

Mansfield's sentence marks the first time the maximum penalty has been handed down under the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, Hill said.

Hill said the maximum sentence was recommended to U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real in Los Angeles because the crime was "extremely serious and malicious."

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