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Woman charged with killing bald eagle takes plea agreement - KRTV News in Great Falls, Montana

Woman charged with killing bald eagle takes plea agreement

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BILLINGS -

A woman accused of killing and transporting an American bald eagle along with her husband pleaded guilty to a lesser charge on Wednesday.

Rhonda Birdinground, of the Crow Indian Reservation, will face up to one year in prison, a $10,000 fine, and one year supervised release after pleading guilty to unlawfully transporting illegally taken eagles.

The judge does not have to follow the plea agreement and could decide a harsher penalty.

Prosecutors will dismiss the charge of conspiracy to kill and transport illegally killed eagles, which would have carried up to five years in prison.

Court documents state Birdinground and her husband Alexander Birdinground Jr. conspired to kill a bald eagle and then took a rifle to an area in Dunmore, north of Crow Agency where bald eagles were present to hunt the birds in February 2014.

Birdinground Jr. allegedly fired multiple shots and hit at least one bird.

The couple collected the eagle carcass and loaded it into their vehicle, according to court documents.

It was unclear from court records what the couple planned to do with the dead bird.

Birdinground Jr. was charged additionally with one count of unlawfully taking eagles and one count of unlawfully hunting a migratory bird.

Court records indicate he will take his case to trial April 4.

The couple was appointed a public defender and were each released on their own recognizance, but Birdinground Jr. had his bond revoked Feb. 18 due to a failed drug test. 

RELATED:

Crow Indian Reservation couple charged with killing bald eagle

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