Ohio prosecutor seeks death penalty in case against Punxsutawney Phil
Punxsutawney Phil may have given his last forecast.
A prosecutor in Ohio is seeking the death penalty for the world-famous groundhog who emerged from his Gobbler's Knob home on Feb. 2 and did not see his shadow. His handlers proclaimed: “And so ye faithful, there is no shadow to see, an early spring for you and me.”
Michael T. Gmoser, prosecuting attorney in Butler County, about 20 miles north of Cincinnati, said on Thursday that Phil's misrepresentation of an early spring warrants the death penalty for the irrepressible rodent.
“Let's face it, Punxsutawney Phil has let us down,” Gmoser said, tongue firmly in cheek, after filing the necessary court documents.
“I awoke this morning to a snowstorm, low temperatures and howling wind.”
The National Weather Service says no real improvement is on the horizon for the Pittsburgh area with isolated snow showers expected Friday morning. Snow is likely on Sunday and there's a good chance of snow showers Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, forecasters said.
Spring began Wednesday.
“We in Butler County, like everyone in the nation, depend on Phil to give us a breath of spring in time. You know, Phil lives his life behind bars as it is. This is the only penalty available. Maybe it's time for a Phyllis instead.”
Gmoser will have a fight on his hands if he tries to arrest the Weather Prophet without Peer, said Jeffrey Lundy, vice president of the Punxsutawney Ground Hog Club.
“He's going to have to go through 15 licensed hunters to get to Phil,” said Lundy, referring to members of the club's inner circle.
“We'll find out how good of a prosecutor (Gmoser) is. If he doesn't know how to speak groundhog-ese, he'll never understand a word Phil says.”
Gmoser acknowledges a reprieve is possible.
“There may be some mitigating circumstances I may not know about. Phil may not know his rear from a hole in the ground. That might make a difference,” said Gmoser, who decided to file the court papers to break the tension at the end of a hard day in the office.
“There's a lot of things to get serious about,” Lundy agreed. “Groundhog Day is not one of them.”
Michael Hasch is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7820 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Shaler man charged in death of girl, 6, not prosecuted in repeated alcohol cases
- Diminishing number of pilots takes toll on small airports in Western Pa.
- Pa. spends millions on death penalty cases that rarely end in execution
- African-American Heritage Day Parade in Pittsburgh draws more than 40 groups
- Pittsburgh police officer hits pedestrian in East Liberty
- 17-year-old male killed, 15-year-old female shot in McKeesport
- Newsmaker: Bob Herbert
- Police: Man steals cash from tip jar at South Side restaurant
- Police urge caution after several Perry South break-ins
- Counter attackers by tossing items, experts advise college students
- Munhall standoff leads to prostitution arrests in Pittsburgh’s South Side