A former Santa Maria resident was sentenced Monday to three months in federal prison for shooting and killing a northern elephant seal in San Simeon.
Jordan Gerbich was facing up to a year behind bars after pleading guilty last December to one misdemeanor count of illegally taking a marine mammal.
In a plea agreement, federal authorities said the 30-year-old admitted to driving to an elephant seal viewing area adjacent to the Piedras Blancas Marine Reserve and Monterey Bay National Marine sanctuary and shot and killed a northern elephant seal on Sept. 28, 2019 with a .45-caliber pistol and flashlight.
The elephant seal, a protected species, was found with a bullet in its head the following day.
Once released, Gerbich, who now lives in Utah, will be placed on a year of supervised release and serve three months in home detention, perform 120 hours of community service, and pay a $1,000 fine, a federal judge ruled Monday.
A reward was being offered in the case. Authorities have not said what led to Gerbich’s arrest.