Man to pay more than $40,000 in fines for shooting at nene

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A Kukuiula man has been ordered to pay $40,000 in fines for killing four nene, and he tried to kill another one outside his home.
     
An investigation conducted by the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service revealed that on Feb. 7, 2017, 72-year-old Steven Cookson used a pellet gun to kill four nene, and attempted the next day to kill another nene near his residence located in the Kukui’ula subdivision in K?loa.
     
Nene are native to Hawaii and are also the state bird. 

Prosecutors say he was convicted of five misdemeanor state charges of taking an endangered or threatened species. 

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Anthony Herndon prosecuted the case. 

Cookson was represented by Michael Green, Esq. 

Judge Robert Goldberg handed down the sentence on Oct. 16, 2018.

Cookson entered no contest pleas to each charge in the environmental court complaint. 

For Counts 1, 2, 3, and 4, Cookson was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and $155 in fees, for each count. 

For Count 5, Cookson was ordered to pay $155 in fees. As a result, he was ordered to pay a total of $40,775.

Prosecuting Attorney Justin F. Kollar stated, “We are very grateful to Jean Olbert of the DLNR, and Special Agent Victoria Owens of the USFWS for their thorough and professional investigation of this matter. The protection of our threatened and endangered species is an important part of our mission.”

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