Punxsutawney Phil, the famous central Pennsylvania groundhog has been indicted by an Ohio prosecutor on charges the rodent willingly "cause[d] the people to believe that spring would come early."

On Feb. 2, Punxsutawney Phil emerged from home atop Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa. and did not see his shadow, therefore predicting an early Spring. However, following the prediction, Pennsylvania, Ohio and the surrounding areas have seen nothing but snow, sleet, wind and below-freezing temperatures.

Butler County, Ohio, prosecuting attorney Michael Gmoser determined the extremely contradictory outcome of Punxsutawney Phil's prognostication was grounds for an official indictment against the critter:

"The people further find and specify that due to the aggravating circumstances and misrepresentation to the people that the death penalty be implemented to the defendant, Punxsutawney Phil," reads the indictment obtained by the Washington Post.

When hearing of the suit against his animal friend, handler of nine years John Griffiths told USA Today that in Punxsutawney Phil's defense: "There have been springlike temperature spikes...and maybe there's just a dark cloud over Ohio."

Though Gmoser admits the faux-lawsuit is all in fun, he nonetheless expects the defendant to appeal his indictment. And while Punxsutawney Phil may have been incorrect this year, the annual Keystone State celebrations in his honor still drew a number of loyal supporters.

Punxsutawney Phil's appearance is said to intentionally coincide with the Christian feast of Candlemas, or Jesus Christ's Presentation at the Temple by his parents Joseph and Mary, similar to today's baptisms. Traditionally, the rite would be held 40 days after a child's birth, which for Christ would fall around this time of year. German immigrants to Pennsylvania commemorated the holiday with a weather prediction, which soon became Groundhog Day.

The annual "Fersommling" for Punxsutawney Phil's first patron organization, "Grundsau Lodsch No. 1 an die Lechau [on the Lehigh River]" in Allentown, Pa., is held the weekend of Groundhog Day. Despite the frigid temperatures cited by Gmoser, members of the Pennsylvania German organization packed into the Germansville Fire Hall, 15 miles northwest of the city, to celebrate Phil's prediction.

The yearly get-together is an opportunity for those of German heritage to preserve their language and culture, as well as enjoy traditional Pennsylvania German foods. No English is spoken at the event, or the later "Fersommlinge" held by 16 of the other 17 lodges (Lodge No. 3 was originally based at Temple University in Philadelphia, but has since dissolved), which dot the countryside from Interstate 81 to the New Jersey border.

The night traditionally ends with a "Spiel" or play, often a short skit. This year's skit, performed strictly in German of course, at Lodge No. 1's dinner brought attendees back to the days of "The Berksy," a former passenger train line that was a major mode of transportation when the region had a much smaller population and farming the land was the traditional way of life for those of Pennsylvania German heritage.

As the Pennsylvania German language, often seen as a hybrid between High German and English, sees a decline among those in the younger generation in Pennsylvania, Punxsutawney Phil and his "Fersommlinge" are important elements to keeping the culture of one of America's first immigrant groups alive for generations to come, no matter the groundhog's prediction.