Punxsutawney Phil 'indicted' in Ohio over spring prediction

Punxsutawney Phil may now wish he was back in hibernation

Related Stories

Authorities in the US state of Ohio have issued an "indictment" against Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog famed for predicting spring's arrival, after he got it wrong this year.

The groundhog forecast an early spring when he did not see his shadow as he emerged from hibernation on 2 February.

But tongue-in-cheek prosecutors in Ohio's Butler County accuse the rodent of deliberately misleading the public.

They say such a felony should be punished by death.

"Punxsutawney Phil did purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the people to believe that spring would come early," wrote Mike Gmoser, Butler County prosecutor, in an official-looking paper.

'Very harsh'

He added the wrong prediction amounted to a felony "against the peace and dignity of the state of Ohio".

But Bill Deeley, president of the club that organises Groundhog Day, said Phil has a lawyer and would fight attempted extradition by the Ohio authorities.

He added the death penalty would be a "very harsh" punishment for the much-loved rodent.

"We'll have to plead our case one way or the other, but I think we can beat the rap," Mr Deeley said.

There has been much chatter on social media about Phil's incorrect prediction that spring would come early.

Temperatures in the region remain low, with a storm due on Sunday that could bring several inches of snow with it.

Each year thousands of people visit the tiny western Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney, depicted in the 1993 comedy Groundhog Day, to witness Phil's prognostication.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More US & Canada stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Martin Gardner as a young manThink hard

    Was this man the world's greatest puzzle master?


  • Carved pumpkinTrick or treat

    What did a riot at a pumpkin festival show about race in US?


  • A woman puts on a surgical mask during hospital Ebola training in Alabama.'Dark continent'

    Is prejudice fuelling Ebola outbreak hysteria in the US?


  • Oscar de la Renta and Oprah WinfreyIn pictures

    The life and work of Oscar de la Renta


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • FutureThe future is now

    Get the latest updates and biggest ideas from BBC Future’s World-Changing Ideas Summit

Programmes

  • Smart glassesClick Watch

    Smart spectacles go into battle – the prototypes looking to take on Google Glass

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.