Alleged ostrich killer to accept plea deal

A 19-year-old man accused of fatally shooting an ostrich at an El Granada ranch on Halloween night in 2006 will agree to a plea deal before his Monday jury trial, his attorney said Wednesday. Tim McKevitt, of Half Moon Bay, is one of two men accused of killing an ostrich named Gaylord that belonged to ranch owner Karen Schmidt.

McKevitt and his friend, Jonathan Porter, 20, allegedly used a shotgun and rifle to kill the bird after it attacked them when they tried to pet it, prosecutors said.

McKevitt had pleaded not guilty to felony animal cruelty; his jury trial was scheduled to begin Monday. Prosecutors have refused to drop the felony charge.

McKevitt’s attorney, Alex Reisman, said they will agree to a guilty plea to the felony charge and request that the charge be reduced to a misdemeanor.

Reisman said McKevitt has a long history of community service and graduated from Half Moon Bay High School last year as class president. He is a longtime employee of a local hotel. He hopes this will persuade the judge to agree to drop the felony charge.

The shooting occurred at about 1:30 a.m. after McKevitt and Porter were drinking with a group of friends when they stumbled upon Schmidt’s ranch, inhabited by three ostriches.

In February, Porter pleaded guilty to felony animal abuse and possession of a firearm. He was on probation at the time for felony grand theft that occurred in Half Moon Bay two years ago.

“Mr. Porter has already had a felony conviction,” said Reisman, who added that his client has no criminal history. McKevitt is currently free on $25,000 bail.

bfoley@examiner.com

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