On March 16, NYU college student Christian Gutierrez pleaded no contest to amended charges of third-degree theft, prohibited activities, prohibited activities in a natural area reserve, fourth-degree criminal property damage, and second-degree cruelty to animals.
Despite torturing and killing dozens of birds, Gutierrez and the other monsters were only charged with one count of 2nd-degree animal cruelty.
On Thursday, July 6, a judge sentenced the Punahou School graduate to 45 days in jail and a year of probation. He will also have to serve 200 hours of community service and pay restitution.
“The nature and circumstances of the crimes that you pled to shock the conscience. The killing of these defenseless and protected birds was inexcusable,” said Circuit Court Judge Jeannette Castagnetti.
Gutierrez spoke before a packed courtroom, and apologized for his actions:
“I’ve been listening to what people have been saying about this case, and about my character, and about what’s happened since the beginning, and also here today in this courtroom. The people have every right to be angry and disgusted with my behavior, as I am disgusted with my own behavior. I wish I had the courage not to go along, but I did and I will forever have that memory.
If he were really remorseful he wouldn't have dragged this out for more than a year "fighting to get a deferred sentence" which would have wiped his record clean after the probation and blocked the police reports as if he had never tortured these poor animals to death. He's not sorry. If he were, he would have manned up, plead guilty at the onset and issued his apology then.
Gutierrez was taken into custody immediately following his sentencing. While being handcuffed, he uttered yet another apology: “I love you, Mom. I love you, Dad. I’m sorry.”
His attorney, Myles Breiner, says he’s disappointed with the outcome.
He had been fighting to get the charges deferred, meaning if Gutierrez stayed out of trouble, the charges would eventually be wiped from his record. But the judge denied that request.
“We thought that he deserved a deferral,” Breiner said. “We’re disappointed that the court gave him any jail at all. Hopefully when he gets out, he’ll be able to resume his studies in New York.”
His parents clearly have a lot of money. They live in Hawaii and yet they're able to send their kid all the way to NYC to go to school at NYU and have him fly home for breaks? None of that is affordable to 75% of Americans.
New York University Undergraduate Student Cost Per Year
Data shown for 2014-2015 school year.
Tuition & Fees Out-of-State: $46,170
Room and Board: $16,782
Books & Supplies: $1,070
Other Expenses: $2,000
Total In-State: $66,022
Headline should be "Spoiled rich kid tortures and kills animals for his amusement knowing Mommy and Daddy will bail him out"
Gutierrez will have to report to a probation officer once he’s released from jail.
In December 2015, officials found at least 15 nests in Kaena Point Natural Area Reserve were destroyed with either smashed, dead, or missing eggs. At least 32 adults and eggs were killed, officials said, and there was evidence that several birds had their feet cut off.
Seabird monitoring cameras and sound equipment were also missing with a replacement value of $3,100, officials said.
KILLERS BRAGGED ABOUT THEIR CRIMES
According to civilbeat.org, all the details I have about the alleged albatross killers came indirectly from the suspects themselves who, at a party shortly after the Kaena incident, bragged to their peers about what they had done to the birds. Their boasting included showing the metal identification tags obtained by cutting off the albatrosses’ feet.
Some of their peers were stunned and told their parents. The word got out to Punahou School and others.
Oblivious to the reaction of their classmates, the suspects continued to show off the metal tags and even post pictures of the dead birds on their social media sites until eventually taking down the incriminating information.
What makes the alleged crime particularly horrific is nesting albatrosses are harmless, trusting creatures that are unafraid of human beings. By their nature, the birds stay close to their eggs and chicks no matter what’s happening around their nests.
A year later, Gutierrez turned himself in after a warrant was issued for his arrest.
“If you approach an animal that is not going to try to escape because it is guarding its eggs, and you not only smash its egg, but rip it apart while alive and then save an ID band as a souvenir, one you had to get by dismembering a limb, for entertainment, and you do it more than a dozen times, you have no conscience,” Executive Director of Pacific Rim Conservation Lindsay Young said.
He initially pleaded not guilty to multiple counts, including theft, entering a prohibited area, prohibited activities in a nature reserve, fourth-degree criminal property damage, and 14 counts of animal cruelty, before reaching a deal with prosecutors.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources says the sentencing sends a strong message that crimes like this aren’t taken lightly.
“Everyone wants to be clear that we cannot tolerate this type of behavior. It’s brutal. It’s heinous, and we need to protect our wildlife,” said DLNR chair Suzanne Case. “It’s hard to put a dollar figure on that. We obviously spent hundreds of thousands of dollars creating this protected area and protected from invasive predators, and unfortunately, not protected from man.”
DLNR estimates the long-term effects of the killings resulted in about 320 albatross lost.
Breiner previously told us Gutierrez was not the ring leader, and other individuals — who were juveniles — were involved.
We asked Breiner what’s next for the other boys involved in the case, but he says he can’t comment because those cases are in juvenile court.
THE ALBATROSS IN FOLKLORE
Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" tells us that the albatross is a powerful symbol of good luck — and that it can bring terrible misfortune or “bachi” to kill one.
In the poem, a sailor brings to an abrupt end the good sailing conditions his ship has been experiencing when for no reason he fires an arrow from his crossbow to kill a friendly albatross that had taken to following behind the ship.
After the bird’s death, the ship is cursed with life-threatening storms. The furious crew members punish the albatross killer by tying the dead albatross on a rope dangling from his neck.
In the poem, the sailor says: “Ah! well a-day that evil looks Had I from old and young! Instead of the cross, the Albatross About my neck was hung.” -- Civilbeat.org
VIDEO NEWS CLIP:
(KHON - July 6, 2017)
- Hawaii: Investigation focuses on teenaged boys after Albatross nests destroyed and several birds and their babies were beaten, stabbed and tortured to death
- Hawaii: NYU student Christian Gutierrez, 19, accused of torturing albatross birds to death by beating them with a baseball bat, stabbing them with a machete, destroying their nests and cutting off their legs. Posted photos online and bragged of his crime, say authorities
- Hawaii: Christian Gutierrez pleads no contest to animal cruelty and theft after torture deaths of albatross birds