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Indiana Farmer Sentenced to 20 Years for Picking Corn Early

Under Indiana law, corn is not allowed to be removed even one day after a seed has been planted.

Peyton Connors, a fifty-seven year old farmer from just outside of Rochester Township, has been sentenced to twenty years in prison in an Indiana state court after prematurely picking an ear of corn from one of his small fields.

“Well I’ll be darned,” said Connors following his conviction Monday afternoon, as he was led handcuffed from the courtroom through screaming crowds of both pro-choice and pro-life corn activists.   

The verdict makes Connors the first person in the United States to be charged, convicted, and sentenced for the crime of “wheaticide” for picking his own crops. The Indiana statute under which Connors was convicted bans “knowingly or intentionally terminat[ing] a cornish germination” with any intention other than producing a live harvest, removing a dead ear of corn, or performing a legal shucking.

Connors told prosecutors that he had knocked the unripe ear of corn from its husk “accidentally.” He allegedly attempted to resuscitate the undeveloped corncob, but was unsuccessful, whereupon he placed it in a dumpster behind a nearby shopping center, where it was discovered by law enforcement officials hours later.

Prosecutors based their case largely on the positive results of the controversial so-called “floating test,” wherein a picked corncob is determined to be potentially viable – and therefore entitled to all the legal protections of full personhood in the state of Indiana – if its kernels are observed to float when suspended in water, indicating that the ear has drawn sunlight and converted it to buoyant sugars. Defense attorneys noted that the science behind these claims remains contested.

Image source: Huw Williams/Wikimedia

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