News and Press Releases

father, son sentenced for destroying
Bald eagle nests in ray county

January 24, 2012

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Norborne, Mo., father and son were sentenced in federal court today for illegally destroying two bald eagle nests on their farm property in Ray County, Mo.

Ronald L. Gibson, 70, and Todd A. Gibson, 49, both of Norborne, were each sentenced by U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert E. Larsen to two years of probation. The court also ordered each of them to pay a $5,000 fine and serve 100 hours of community service with the Big Muddy National Wildlife Refuge in Columbia, Mo.

Ronald and Todd Gibson pleaded guilty on Sept. 12, 2011. They admitted that they contracted with Joe Gardner Logging and Sawmill Company, owned by Teddy J. Gardner, 65, of Breckenridge, Mo., to remove timber from their farm land in March 2010. That timber included a large cottonwood tree that contained a bald eagle nest. The bald eagle nest was very large and clearly visible.

Ronald Gibson admitted that he knew the bald eagle nest was in the tree when it was cut down and the nest destroyed. Michael G. Gardner, 54, of Pattonsburg, Mo., an employee of Teddy Gardner, operated the saw that cut down the cottonwood tree containing the bald eagle nest. Michael and Teddy Gardner have pleaded guilty to destroying a bald eagle nest and await sentencing.

Todd Gibson admitted that he asked the Gardners to return to the farm property in April 2010 to complete the logging so the property could be farmed. At that time, Todd Gibson directed them to cut down another tree that contained a bald eagle nest.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jess E. Michaelsen. It was investigated by the Missouri Department of Conservation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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