Cannabis church founder Bill Levin finds beloved peacock 'Bert' murdered

INDIANAPOLIS -- Bill Levin is still reeling from the loss of his best friend of 12 years after his peacock, Bert, was murdered last week.

Levin’s roommate found Bert in an alley behind their home on the northeast side. He had suffered serious blunt force trauma, and someone had plucked all of his feathers out.

Levin, who is perhaps better known as the founder of the First Church of Cannabis, says he is devastated.

PREVIOUS | Paperwork filed with Indiana Secretary of State for First Church of Cannabis

“I came home after church Wednesday night about 8:30 and my roommate was walking down the street with feathers,” Levin said. “I thought it was last year’s feathers, because they fall out. She turned around, she was crying, and I realized that it was not last year’s feathers. The neighborhood reported it was a dog attack. I went down, I examined, and it was clearly a human attack. There were no puncture wounds, no blood. Somebody captured my bird, held him by his tailfeathers, smacked him on the ground and pulled all his tailfeathers out. He crawled under another bush and died. And that’s how I found him.”

Above: Bert displays his full plumage in a photo provided by Bill Levin.

Bert wasn’t the only one of Levin’s animals to die under suspicious circumstances. Levin says one of his goats, Daisy, died earlier this year after being seen healthy just hours before. Levin believes she was poisoned.

Levin has something of a menagerie at his home: four goats, several chickens and ducks, and a three-legged cat named Creature. But Bert was special.

Above: Two of Bill Levin's four goats. Chickens not pictured.

“Bert’s been my friend for 12 years,” Levin said. “Every morning, every night, we had our rituals, I would always hear him. He was our protector. If anything was wrong, he would warn us. He was a stellar bird and he brought great beauty into this neighborhood. He never hurt anything, he never damaged anything. All he was was beautiful.”

Levin said neighborhood kids would sometimes ask to do class reports on Bert and he would give them feathers to take to class.

Levin’s neighbor, Lulu, said far from being bothered by living next to a peacock, she and her kids loved the animal.

“Bert was my buddy,” she said. “My children and I, we loved that bird. I come out in the morning and I don’t hear him. It’s hard.”

Levin believes one of his neighbors may be behind both Daisy’s and Bert’s murders. He says he just can’t understand why someone would want to hurt an animal.

“How could you kill something so beautiful? How in your heart could you kill something so wonderful, so peaceful, so beautiful? It’s just horrible.”

MORE FROM THE CRIME BEATThe ‘Grundy Crew’ has a long history in Indianapolis. It may have caught up with them. | PC: Man murdered over missing drugs belonging to the ‘Mexican Mafia’ | Why are .40-calibers surging in Indy as crime guns? | Message written in blood leads IMPD to murder suspect | MAP: 2017 Indianapolis Homicides

Print this article Back to Top