Bush Pardons Eagle Killer

Bush lets off man who indirectly poisoned birds
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 1, 2008 11:02 AM CST
Leslie Owen Collier stands next to a tractor on his farm in Charleston, Mo., Friday, Nov. 28, 2008.    (Brad Chamness)
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(Newser) – Twelve years after pleading guilty to federal charges in the deaths of three bald eagles, Leslie Owen Collier learned last week that his name was cleared: He was pardoned by President Bush. "I guess I was humbled is the best way to say it—I never thought it would happen," Collier, 50, said. "It was emotional. I almost came to tears, really."

In 1995, Collier “got it in my head that if I eliminated some of the coyotes,” it would offer wild turkeys, whose population seemed to be increasing, “a jump-start" on their comeback, he said. So he put out poisoned meat in an effort to kill the coyotes. Seven died, but so did federally protected eagles who ate them. Collier became a convicted felon and was ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution. (Read more bald eagle stories.)