Posted by on June 03, 2005 at 17:53:59:
In Reply to: Black Sea Bass Murder Case Information posted by Chris on June 03, 2005 at 15:44:43:
SAN DIEGO (AP) - Two San Diego divers and one boat operator have pleaded not guilty to killing a protected giant sea bass with a spear gun in April and removing the fish from a protected area.
Omid Adhami, 34; Nima Hodaji, 26; and Navid Adibi, 22, entered the plea Thursday.
The three were in the San Diego-La Jolla Ecological Reserve April 24 when Adhami allegedly speared the giant sea bass and Hodaji allegedly speared a sheephead fish, according to investigators, who say San Diego city lifeguards witnessed the incident through binoculars.
The men hoisted the 171-pound giant sea bass into the boat and gave one another "high fives" before motoring out of the reserve, according to court documents.
Adhami told investigators he did not know he was inside the reserve and that he speared the fish after it swam close and frightened him.
The giant sea bass was between 12 and 15 years old and was carrying 32 million eggs that could have spawned 240 offspring, according to state game warden Lt. Mike Ference.
Adhami faces charges of conspiracy and unlawful killing of a protected species. If convicted, he could be sentenced to three years in jail and $22,000 in fines.
Hodaji and Adibi face 2 1/2 years in prison and $21,000 in fines each for charges that include conspiracy and possession of a protected species.
Judge David G. Brown has prohibited the men from entering the reserve while the case is pending.
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