Jury Selection Begins in Retrial of Region 8 Eagle Death Suspect

JULY 12, 2005 - Posted at 2:51 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Jury selection in the federal retrial of a man who pleaded guilty to killing a bald eagle and two vultures near Calico Rock began today in Little Rock.  Alfred M. Craft of West Monroe, Louisiana, is being tried on felony charges of witness tampering.  A jury deadlocked on the charges in April.

Craft earlier pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of using a restricted pesticide to kill the birds.  The birds died after eating poison set out on land in Izard County that Craft owns and uses for hunting.  Craft said he had intended to kill "nuisance animals" with the poison.  He is to be sentenced after the witness-tampering trial.

Craft has denied the witness tampering charges that accuse him of putting pressure on two former employees and his former wife to lie to authorities to protect him.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)