Calif. man admits stabbing sea lion - Yahoo! News
A fisherman pleaded guilty on Wednesday to stabbing a sea lion that apparently stole his bait.
Hai Nguyen, 24, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of illegally taking and attempting to kill a marine mammal, admitting that he violated the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Nguyen faces up to a year in prison and a fine of $20,000 at his March sentencing, prosecutors said.
Nguyen was arrested in July in Newport Beach. Police said he was fishing off a pier when the sea lion apparently took the bait from his fishing line.
Authorities said Nguyen then stabbed the sea lion with a steak knife. The animal was taken to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach, where staff found the knife had pierced the sea lion's heart.
It was later euthanized.
Nguyen told U.S. Magistrate Judge Carla Woehrle that he never intended to kill the animal.
"I was fishing, and I tried to scare it away," he said.