No contest plea in Hawaii albatross deaths case

HONOLULU (AP) — A 19-year-old college student is pleading no contest in a case involving seabirds killed at a Hawaii nature reserve.

Christian Gutierrez pleaded no contest Thursday to animal cruelty, theft and other charges. In exchange, prosecutors agree to dismiss 14 remaining counts.

State officials began investigating after three Laysan albatrosses were found dead. There were also 15 nests with smashed or missing eggs.

Gutierrez’s defense attorney has said the teen was camping with classmates from Punahou, a prestigious Honolulu prep school.

Attorney Myles Breiner says his client happened to be the only one who was 18. The other cases are being handled in family court.

The Honolulu prosecuting attorney’s office says the plea deal was necessary to secure evidence against others.

According to a police report, Gutierrez attends New York University.