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Six sentenced in looting case 4-4-07

BOWLING GREEN, Kentucy (AP) - Six Ohio residents were sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to looting an American Indian archaeological site in western Kentucky, a federal prosecutor official said Wednesday.

Daniel Fisher, 41, and Thomas J. Luecke, 40, of Cincinnati; Richard Kirk, 56, of Stout; Joseph M. Mercurio, 44, and Tanya C. Mercurio, 43, of Manchester; and David Whitling, 47, of Bellefontaine, were sentenced Monday by Judge Thomas B. Russell in federal court, U.S. Attorney David L. Huber said in a statement.

All pleaded guilty to looting a site at Barren River Lake, admitting that on Dec. 5, 2005, they entered federal land to dig for relics, including Early Woodlands ceramics that date back roughly to 1500 to 300 B.C., Huber said.

Once on the federal land, the defendants used rakes and digging implements to disturb the surface of the ground, creating holes and displacing archaeological sediment in violation of the federal Archaeological Resources Protection Act, Huber said.

Kirk and Whitling were sentenced to two years of probation. Kirk was ordered to serve six months of home incarceration as part of his probation.

Joseph Mercurio was sentenced to two years' probation and four months in home detention. Tanya Mercurio was sentenced to two years' probation.

Fisher and Luecke were each sentenced to two years' probation and six months in home detention.

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