AL man sentenced after "cannonballing" endangered manatees - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

AL man sentenced after "cannonballing" endangered manatees

Posted: Updated:
Stock Photo: (Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) Stock Photo: (Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
  • NEWSMore>>

  • Renowned TV personality to speak at CSU

    Renowned TV personality to speak at CSU

    Wednesday, September 17 2014 3:39 AM EDT2014-09-17 07:39:01 GMT
    A well-known TV personality in Georgia will be speaking to students at Columbus State University Tuesday, Sept. 16. Award-winning journalist Monica Kaufman Pearson will be kicking the university's speakerMore >>
    A well-known TV personality in Georgia will be speaking to students at Columbus State University Tuesday, Sept. 16. Award-winning journalist Monica Kaufman Pearson will be kicking the university's speaker series.More >>
  • Female soldiers invited to apply for ranger school

    Female soldiers invited to apply for ranger school

    Wednesday, September 17 2014 3:24 AM EDT2014-09-17 07:24:01 GMT
    The army is opening its doors to female soldiers looking to attend ranger school.More >>
    The army is opening its doors to female soldiers looking to attend ranger school.More >>
  • Muscogee County School Board approves redevelopment referendum

    Muscogee County School Board approves redevelopment referendum

    Wednesday, September 17 2014 3:21 AM EDT2014-09-17 07:21:01 GMT
    It was unanimous for the Muscogee County school board Monday night, agreeing to team up with the city of Columbus in giving a boost to under-developed areas. This comes just seven weeks before the publicMore >>
    It was unanimous for the Muscogee County school board Monday night, agreeing to team up with the city of Columbus in giving a boost to under-developed areas. This comes just seven weeks before the public will vote on the Redevelopment of Powers Law.More >>
ORLANDO, FL (WSFA) -

He dubbed himself "Tayla the manatee slaya" but after posting video on a social networking site showing his adventures in "cannonballing" an endangered manatee and her calf, it's he who's being slayed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Alabama man, 22-year-old Taylor Blake Martin, of Guntersville, was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to harassing the creatures while in Florida.

Martin was ordered by a U.S. Magistrate judge to pay a $3,000 fine and serve 175 hours of community service for his actions. He'll also be on probation for 2 years and must post an apology and statement of remorse on Facebook.

Posting about the crime on Facebook is what initially attracted the attention of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and led to the arrest and conviction of Martin and a second suspect, 22-year-old Florida resident Seth Andrew Stephenson.

According to court documents, a video posted on Facebook showed Stephenson luring an adult manatee and her calf to a dock with the help of a water hose. Once the animals were close enough, the video showed Martin jumping off the dock and landing in a cannonball position on the animals' backs. Before the video ended, it showed the men attempting to lure the animals back after they swam away. It's not known if they were able to attempt the jump again. 

A link to the video on YouTube was confirmed by the USFWS and can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fk0HWckdT38&noredirect=1

Authorities say the men showed no remorse for their actions, with Martin telling a disapproving commenter on his Facebook post, "hahaha…in my debue [sic] as tayla the manatee slaya…im f---- ready to cannonball on every manatee living yewwww." 

The men escaped jail time because there was no evidence that the animals suffered physical harm. Still, a representative for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service the sentence "sent a clear message..." and said, "manatee harassment is a serious crime which will be dealt with harshly."

The penalty could have been much stiffer with a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $50,000 fine.

Manatees are protected under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. They are found in marine, estuarine and freshwater environments.

Mug shots for the two convicts were not available.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

  • Most ReadMost ReadMore>>

  • Man indicted for attempted murder of Lanett police officer

    Man indicted for attempted murder of Lanett police officer

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 12:22 PM EDT2014-09-16 16:22:25 GMT
    A Chambers County grand jury has indicted Jarod Moreland for Attempted Capital Murder of a Lanett police officer.  Per Lanett Police Chief Angie Spates, in August of 2013, Moreland allegedly took policeMore >>
    A Chambers County grand jury has indicted Jarod Moreland for Attempted Capital Murder of a Lanett police officer.  Per Lanett Police Chief Angie Spates, in August of 2013, Moreland allegedly took policeMore >>
  • Father accused of killing 5 children extradited back to S. Carolina

    Father accused of killing 5 children extradited back to S. Carolina

    Thursday, September 11 2014 7:56 PM EDT2014-09-11 23:56:58 GMT
    The father accused of killing and dumping the bodies of his five children along a rural dirt road in Wilcox County, Alabama was successfully extradited back to the state of South CarolinaMore >>
    The father accused of killing and dumping the bodies of his five children along a rural dirt road in Wilcox County, Alabama was successfully extradited back to the state of South Carolina Thursday to face charges, according to local reports.More >>
  • breaking

    Missing juvenile boy located

    Missing juvenile boy located

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-09-16 16:05:39 GMT
    The Columbus Police Department has located a missing juvenile and returned him to his residence. Terrell D. Baldwin, also known as "Tank," was last seen at 513 35th Street on Wednesday, Sept. 10 2014.More >>
    The Columbus Police Department has located a missing juvenile and returned him to his residence. Terrell D. Baldwin, also known as "Tank," was last seen at 513 35th Street on Wednesday, Sept. 10 2014.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

1909 Wynnton Road
Columbus, Ga. 31906

FCC Public File
publicfile@wtvm.com
706-494-5400
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WTVM. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.