DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- A minor league pitcher who killed a
popular osprey with a baseball last year cannot pay his way out of
performing community service, a judge ruled Tuesday.
An attorney for Jae Kuk Ryu had requested that his client pay
the standard state rate of $10 an hour rather than do the 100 hours
of work he agreed to in a plea deal in August.
Daytona Beach attorney David Hood also had asked the court for a
two-month extension to allow the former Daytona Cubs player more
time to return from his South Korea home and complete the community
But Volusia County Judge Freddie J. Worthen agreed with the
state attorney's office that Ryu must follow the original plea
agreement, which prosecutors said gives him until the end of
February to complete the work.
If Ryu is unable to complete his community service by then and
state prosecutors decide to pursue additional charges, they will
have to prove that Ryu "willfully" avoided his court-ordered
service, Worthen said.
Ryu, 20, knocked the bird from its perch at Jackie Robinson
Ballpark in Daytona Beach before a game in the Class A Florida
State League on April 21. The bird, nicknamed "Ozzy" by fans, was
blinded in its right eye and died six days later.
Following public outcry over the incident, the Cubs demoted Ryu
to the Lansing Lugnuts of the lower-level Midwest League. He later
was promoted to the Double-A West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx.