Former TV Pitchman Heading To Trial After Refusing To Admit He Kicked An Owl While Paragliding

Folks from Utah might remember the zany owner of the now defunct Totally Awesome Computer Chain for his series of wacky commercials. The former TV pitchman and paragliding aficionado is back in the spotlight now as he heads to trial, accused of kicking a barn owl in flight while he soared through the air.

Though Dell “Super Dell” Schanze was originally on board for a plea deal in the case, that fell through as he failed to admit that he’d knowingly harassed the owl in February or March of 2011, reports the Associated Press. In order to have a plea deal, he’d have to acknowledge that he’d done so, as a U.S. District judge pointed out to him.

But he said he refused to admit to a crime that he said would make him appear to be the kind of awful person who goes around kicking avians.

“Do you not see the conundrum?” Schanze told the judge. “I’m not an evil, horrible guy and I’m not going to lie.”

The judge replied that no one was accusing him of being evil, and that he didn’t have to accept the plea deal if he didn’t want to.

After Schanze, who’s facing a misdemeanor charge charge of knowingly using an aircraft to harass wildlife and pursuing a migratory bird, again refused to admit to booting the owl, the judge ordered the case to go to trial April 20.

The charges were filed in October after a federal investigation into a video posted online that seems to show a paragalider near Utah Lake kicking an owl in flight and then bragging about it.

Schanze closed his computer store chain in 2006 amid slow sales and legal trouble. This isn’t his first brush with the law over paragliding activities — he was charged in 2006 with disorderly conduct after buzzing traffic during rush hour, and received a $300 fine. A fan paid that off.

In 2011, he was arrested in Oregon after a video appeared to show him illegally jumping off the 125-foot-tall Astoria Column with a parachute.

Here’s a taste of his past TV work:

Former TV pitchman will go to trial in owl harassment case [Associated Press]

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