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Prosecutor to Meet Groundhog He Indicted
BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (Larry Davis) -- If you believe in weather forecasts by groundhogs we will find out how soon we will see spring.
Punxsutawney Phil is set to emerge from his burrow on Groundhog Day, which is Sunday, and make his fearless forecast. Just about a year after indicting the forecasting rodent, prosecutor Mike Gmoser says he really isn't sure whether he will receive a warm or a chilly reception when he comes face to face with Phil.
When last spring didn't arrive as Punxsutawney Phil had predicted, Butler County prosecutor Mike Gmoser moved swiftly. He indicted the furry forecaster and asked for the death penalty.
He says the alleged offense was serious.
"Misrepresentation of an early spring-that is a capital offense in Ohio."
But Gmoser withdrew the indictment after Phil's handler told him that there was a mistake in translation between man and groundhog. While some criticized Gmoser's action as frivolous, the prosecutor says it was only a prank.
He says there was some good that came out of it when school teachers wrote about their students pleas to spare the legendary groundhog.
"They remarked that they received more creativity from their students in that exercise. It was a light hearted moment."
On Sunday, Gmoser will take part in Groundhog Day ceremonies in Punxsutawney and await Phil's prediction.
"They just felt an obligation to have me come out and invited me to be an observer, I'm sort of the appointed watchdog for the groundhog."
Gmoser will also read a poem he wrote about his case involving the groundhog he will meet for the first time.
"I think that when I come face to face with Phil he and I will have a clear understanding of what my intentions were and have been and hopefully he will give us his best shot and get an early spring for us."
If Phil misses on this year's prediction Gmoser says the groundhog will not have to worry about being indicted again, at least in Butler County. Gmoser says no tax dollars are being used for his trip this weekend.