This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Former TV pitchman Dell "Super Dell" Schanze pleaded guilty Friday to harassing an owl, a day after his plea deal fell apart in federal court.
Schanze admitted guilt to two misdemeanor counts, knowingly using an aircraft to harass wildlife and pursuing a migratory bird. Federal prosecutors made no concessions to Schanze in exchange for his plea on Friday, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
U.S. District Judge Dee Benson sentenced Schanze to one year of probation.
"Schanze will forfeit an orange parasail as a substitute asset for the paraglider involved in the illegal conduct," according to a statement from the attorney's office. "Judge Benson also ordered him not to land a paraglider in a federally designated Wilderness Area or in any area closed to motorized access by a federal agency."
Schanze had been scheduled to go to trial April 20.
Schanze wouldn't admit on Thursday that he had harassed an owl while flying his motorized paraglider in early 2011. At one point, Schanze told Benson that the plea agreement made him into an "evil, horrible person," and he's not that.
Schanze, 45, was charged in October 2014. The charges followed a federal investigation into an online video, which surfaced in 2013 and appeared to show a paraglider pilot kicking a soaring barn owl and boasting about it.
"The protection of Utah's wildlife should be important to all of us," U.S. Attorney Carlie Christensen said in a statement Friday afternoon. "Mr. Schanze used his motorized paraglider to harass an owl to the point of exhaustion and then kicked it. His actions showed utter disregard for this protected bird."
Schanze is well known for his local television ads for his business Totally Awesome Computers, which was shuttered in 2006.
After the business closed, Schanze ran unsuccessfully for governor and mayor of Saratoga Springs as a strong gun-rights advocate and has faced a number of relatively minor charges over the years.