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Punxsutawney Phil gets reprieve from electric chair

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 26th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The death penalty will not be brought against furry forecaster Punxsutawney Phil for predicting an early spring. One of Phil's handlers, a top-hatted groundhog enthusiast named Bill Deeley, took the fall.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Phil appeared on Groundhog's Day, February 2, and didn't see his shadow, suggesting an early spring. What the critter actually meant when he appeared at Gobbler's Knob, it seems, was six more weeks of winter.

Millions were disappointed after winter endured well beyond six weeks, as countless snow-shoveling Americans can attest.

Deeley now says it was "All my fault." Deeley volunteered to a local television reporter over the weekend that he had not been drinking. "Mis-interpretation by me. I just read him wrong."

Prosecutor Michael T. Gmoser of Butler County, Ohio, told NBC News that it was time to exonerate the groundhog because the handler "stepped up to the burrow and took responsibility.

"I always appreciate the acceptance of responsibility in all the criminal cases we handle here," he said from his office in the city of Hamilton, where it was snowing an hour earlier.

"We do a lot of serious work here," he added, almost defensively. "This has been a little lighthearted fun."

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