NEW SHARON — A Mahaska County man faces federal charges after allegedly beating a bald eagle to death and decapitating it.
Jason John Thomas was arrested in New Sharon after being indicted by a federal grand jury. He is accused of killing the eagle in 2011, while he was boating on the Skunk River in Mahaska County.
According to an affidavit from Justin Mays, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent, Thomas was boating in mid-March, 2011, when he steered the boat toward the river bank, near where the eagle was sitting. When the eagle took off and landed again near the bank, Thomas allegedly trapped it.
The affidavit states Thomas, “then took a stick and pinned the bald eagle under a log and hit the eagle with the stick … then pulled the eagle in the boat and then stomped the eagle to death in the boat.”
Authorities say Thomas cut off the eagle’s head and talons before dumping the carcass into the river.
The case came to light because of “a concerned citizen,” the affidavit states.
Bald eagles are a federally protected species.