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Eastern Utah man sentenced to prison for illegally killing bald, golden eagles

An Eastern Utah man was sentenced to prison after he pleaded guilty in federal court earlier this year to illegally killing bald and golden eagles.

An Eastern Utah man was sentenced to prison after he pleaded guilty in federal court earlier this year to illegally killing bald and golden eagles. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)



Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah man will spend time in prison after pleading guilty to killing at least 10 federally protected eagles and illegally possessing a gun.

Michael Earl Yellow, 54, was sentenced Wednesday to 46 months in federal prison after he pleaded guilty in February to being a felon in possession of a firearm and two counts of unauthorized taking of an eagle. Federal court records indicate Yellow lives on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation in eastern Utah, and the charges were based out of Duchesne County.

Yellow was initially indicted in 2018 with seven additional counts of unauthorized taking of an eagle, though those charges were dropped as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.

The plea deal states that between August 2014 and August 2015, Yellow killed and took possession of at least 10 bald or golden eagles without a permit. Yellow also admitted to possessing a Mossberg 702 Plinkster .22 caliber rifle, which was illegal given that he is a convicted felon.

Yellow also forfeited multiple items to the government as part of the plea deal, including the Mossberg rifle, ammunition and magazines. He was also required to surrender "four golden eagle carcasses; and assorted carcasses, bones and feathers," the plea agreement says.

Yellow's court docket indicates he was in custody at the Wednesday sentencing hearing. After his prison term is complete, he will not be placed on probation or supervised release. Court records say Yellow will serve his prison time in Arizona, Colorado or Florida.

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Jacob Scholl joined KSL.com as a reporter in 2021. He covers northern Utah communities, federal courts and technology.

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