- Associated Press - Friday, August 14, 2015

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A federal judge has determined a Nebraska man who was imprisoned last year for killing an eagle and a hawk has spent enough time bars and has resentenced him to a year of supervised release.

Lamar Bertucci of Macy originally was sentenced in October to eight months in prison after pleading guilty to shooting the federally protected birds, the Lincoln Journal Star (http://bit.ly/1J8510N ) reported.

The 46-year-old and his lawyer objected before his sentencing hearing to a $10,000 value put on the eagle, arguing it should be lower. They said the figure should be about $2,000, which is the value federal courts have traditionally accepted and the value used when Bertucci was convicted of killing another eagle six years ago.

A federal probation officer who prepared Bertucci’s presentence report had relied on testimony from a Virginia-based wildlife expert to propose the higher amount for the loss of the eagle.

The amount can dictate a sentence length, and the birds’ combined value could have put Bertucci in custody for eight to 14 months.

The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the original sentence last month. The appeals court determined the wildlife expert’s testimony wasn’t enough to justify the five-fold increase in the eagle’s value.

Bertucci was released pending his resentencing. His lawyer argued that he already spent enough time in custody for a crime that should have carried a maximum sentence of two months.

U.S. District Court Judge Lyle E. Strom agreed Wednesday and gave Bertucci credit for the time he served. But Strom still ordered Bertucci to pay $2,500 in restitution for the eagle and $350 for the hawk.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com

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