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Lewes, Delaware
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January 30, 1998     Cape Gazette
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January 30, 1998

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CAPE G, Friday, January 30 - February 5, 1998 - 13 Sentencing for convicted eagle killer postponed By Kerry Kester U.S. District Judge Mary Tros- tie postponed Douglas Sipple's sentencing for his admitted crime of killing a bald eagle with poison, following an unexpected turn in Sipple's Monday, Jan. 26, sen- tencing proceeding. Sipple, 50, of Georgetown, is now scheduled for sentencing on Thursday, Mar. 5. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ed- mond Falgowski asked the court to impose a significant financial penalty on Sipple. Sipple's court- appointed defense attorney, Christopher S. Koyste, countered by noting that restitution pay- ments are admissible by law only when the victim of the crime is clearly defined, such as an indi- vidual or a corporation. Koyste also asked the court to consider his client's ability to pay, and claimed Sipple's financial sit- uation precludes paying any sig- nificant penalty. Sipple's income is $3,000 monthly from a disabili- ty settlement, said Koyste. His expenses include $1,000 in monthly payments for his 26- year-old, married daughter's law school expenses; $500 rent, payable to his father, who is the trustee for a trust account; $500 monthly for food and household expenses; $94 monthly for his son's medical insurance; and an- ticipated expenses for his 10-year- old son's educational needs. Koyste also told the court that Sipple has three outstanding civil judgments against him, totaling $30,000 plus accumulating inter- est. Koyste argued that Sipple lacks the income to pay a signifi- cant restitution or fine. He also said the court should consider le- niency, because Sipple's crime of poisoning a bald eagle was an ac- cident. Falgowski denied Koyste's as- sertions. "This is not an acci- dent," said Falgowski. "An acci- dent is something that is not fore- seeable. He knew he was harvest- ing people's pets." "I'm sorry about this situation. It was a stupid move," said Sipple, noting he should have asked for assistance from animal control specialists. "I can't say anything except it was an accident." Sipple's reason for the poision- ings was to control predators who were preying upon the rabbits he kept for his dog-training business. He said he has now closed the dog-training business. "That was the most drastic step, so I took it," said Sipple. Falgowski noted that Sipple was warned in 1994 and 1995, and when federal agents approached him last summer, he denied knowledge of the poisonings. Fal- gowski said Sipple even attempt- ed to imply that neighbors put dead animals on his property to make it appear Sipple was respon- sible for the killings. Falgowski further contested Koyste's claim that Sipple lacks the financial resources to pay a harsh financial penalty. He took exception to Sipple's $12,000 yearly payments for his daugh- ter's education. Earlier in the proceeding, the judge also expressed some con- cern about the law school pay- ments. "What I'm really con- cerned about is tuition support, supplemented to a daughter who is emancipated and married," said Trostle. "It's not something he has an obligation to do, in any event, as recognized under the law." "He believes he has a moral obligation," said Koyste. Falgowski also questioned who the beneficiary of the trust fund was, noting that if the trust is for Jake, then the $500 monthly rent on the farm would be negotiable. Furthermore, said Falgowski, fed- eral agents reported to him that Sipple operates a 1997 pickup truck that has no lien against it. "The government would ask that the court do something to get the defendant's attention, some- thing that [U.S.] Fish and Wildlife has not ye t been able to do," said Falgowski. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser- vice arrested Sipple in July for al- legedly taking an endangered species (bald eagle), poisoning a bald eagle, unlawfully taking mi- gratory birds and using a regis- tered pesticide inconsistent with labeling. The arrest followed a two-year investigation into why hundreds of animals near Sipple's property were poisoned, by what federal agents determined was carbofuran (Furadan), a controlled substance. Sipple's property is located near the shopping center at the i[iter- section of Route 113 and Route 9 in Georgetown. In early October,' he pleaded guilty to taking an endangered species and poisoning a bald ea- gle. According to Keith Kincald, U.S. District Court deputy, the maximum penalty for taking an endangered species is a $100,000 fine, $25 special assessment and a year in prison, followed by a year of supervision. Civil suit settled? Sipple has faced other conse- quences from his animal poison- ings. On Friday, Jan. 23, he set- fled a civil case that Linda Kahoe, a neighbor, lodged against Sipple. Kahoe asserted Sipple was re- sponsible for killing her dalmatian in September 1995. Kahoe said the settlement she reached with Sipple included $900 and an apology. However, she said, Sipple did not apologize to her in court. "He left there without apologizing," said Kahoe. "He said if I had kept my dog away from his father's house, the dog wouldn't have been poi- soned." Kahoe asserted her dog Continued on page 15 &Tennille Live entertainment In the Garden Care and I tlk Gazebo Bar, Wednesday through Sunday nights. i 'lr- For ffi:lmU call 302-674-4600, ext. 777 or stop by Dowr Downs Guest Servlce Rll shows are Iocaled In Srd Ilaer geandstm unkm oUm.wbe Incllumd. m ar T, eS SY e0 o'we. ^ Sumk ,e octd Iulm 13 DO DE 14100-71 I-$882 COUNTRY LIFE has new homes, already built in the best neighborhoods. Open designs with plenty of room. 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