Duarte man pleads no contest in illegal deer hunting case
A hunter who sparked outrage last year after he shot and killed a deer with a bow and arrow has pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge.
Michael Jackson Rodriguez entered his plea Tuesday to one misdemeanor count of possessing fish or wildlife taken unlawfully, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. Under the negotiated plea deal, a judge sentenced Rodriguez to three years of summary probation and 30 days of community service.
Rodriguez must also surrender all hunting licenses and is prohibited from hunting while on probation. He also has to pay a $1,000 fine to the state Fish and Game Preservation fund and must also give up his seized property — which includes a bow, arrows and remains of the deer — to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, according to the prosecutor.
Rodriguez was accused of killing a deer with a bow and arrow in a Monrovia neighborhood on Sept. 14. It is illegal to shoot a deer or discharge a deadly weapon within 150 yards of a home.
Monrovia police said they were notified after homeowners Chuck and Robyn Tapert saw Rodriguez on their surveillance camera. The video shows an archer shooting a deer in a forested area next to the Taperts’ house, followed by the deer running away down the street. The deer then died.
“I couldn’t believe it. I’m like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’” Chuck Tapert told CBS Los Angeles last year. “Somebody took a shot at a deer right in front of our house in a residential neighborhood?”
Officials were inundated with calls from people upset by the video, which spread across social media.
Rodriguez told CBS L.A. that he first shot the buck in the forest, hitting it near the spine, but the buck didn’t die. He followed the deer into the residential neighborhood so he could kill it.
“I was following up a wounded animal and taking him out so he wasn’t suffering anymore,” Rodriguez said.
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