Punxsutawney Phil Faces Execution Threat

Prosecutor furious over groundhog's 'misrepresentation of spring'

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 22, 2013 7:13 AM CDT

(Newser) – Punxsutawney Phil could be in serious trouble. He didn't see his shadow this year, meaning spring should come early. But the season has shown no signs of arriving as of yet in Ohio's Butler County, and a prosecutor there has "indicted" Phil, charging him with "misrepresentation of spring," the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Mike Gmoser says Phil behaved "with prior calculation and design," writing, "contrary to the Groundhog Day report, a snowstorm and record low temperatures have been and are predicted to continue in the near future." (The city could see as much as three inches of snow on Sunday.)

Phil handler John Griffiths says that's not a fair assessment, given there have actually been spring-like temperature jumps since Feb. 2, USA Today notes. But Gmoser is calling for the death penalty, worrying Griffiths, who asks, "This is tongue-in-cheek, right?"

Groundhog Club Co-handler Ron Ploucha holds the weather-predicting groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, after the club said Phil did not see his shadow and there will be an early spring.
Groundhog Club Co-handler Ron Ploucha holds the weather-predicting groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, after the club said Phil did not see his shadow and there will be an early spring.   (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
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