Prosecutors drop charges in killing of large turtle with M-80 firecrackers

FILE (AP Photo)

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Lancaster County prosecutors have withdrawn charges against two men and a teenager accused of killing a large turtle with powerful firecrackers.

Two 21-year-olds and a 17-year-old were charged in August after Northern Lancaster County Regional police said the three placed M-80s on the turtle’s shell and lit the fuses.

A spokesman for Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman’s office said prosecutors advised police from the start that in order to support the offensive weapons charge, they would need an expert to testify that M-80s meet the definition of “explosives” under the law. He said prosecutors did not feel strongly enough that they would have that expert, so the charge was withdrawn.

Steven Breit is the defense attorney who represents two of the three who were charged. He told ABC27 News he commends the district attorney’s office for its decision.

“According to the information I received, the turtle was, in fact, dead at the time of this unfortunate incident,” Breit said.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is considering summary charges against the trio.

“It basically isn’t going to affect, in my opinion, the filing of fish and game law violations,” Breit said, “because those speak in terms of animals, fish, or game that are either alive or deceased.”

Fish and Boat Commission officials said their investigation is ongoing.

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