A former Santa Barbara County resident was sentenced to three months in prison and 120 hours of community service for killing an elephant seal, NBC News reported Wednesday.
Jordan Gerbich, 30, fatally wounded the marine mammal in Sept. 2019 after an intoxicated friend apparently dared him to shoot an animal “as a kind of grotesque test,” court documents cited by NBC News reveal.
The incident occurred at night on a California beach near San Simeon and the seal was discovered with its tail fins ripped off and cut open, according to NBC News.
FEDERAL CHARGE: A Santa Maria man now faces a federal charge of killing a northern elephant seal that was found shot in the head in San Simeon last year. https://t.co/wY0ZZFMFh7 pic.twitter.com/Ss5dSRZaiQ
— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) August 26, 2020
The event was “so unusual and troubling” that it left Gerbich shocked, his attorney said. The attorney cited Gerbich’s past history of substance abuse and childhood neglect, events that reportedly left his client with a deep “need for approval,” NBC News reported. (RELATED: Alabama Woman Arrested On Animal Cruelty Charges For Stealing Neighbor’s Goat And Painting It Blue)
Prosecutors argued that the crime had a pre-meditated nature, noting that the pair drove to a place where the animals lived and that the suspect brought his handgun with him, the outlet reported.
Gerbich pleaded guilty to the crime in December and was sentenced to three months in prison on Monday. He was also sentenced to 120 hours of community service and a three-month home detention sentence following his stint in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.