Volume 6, Number 49 - March 1, 2007
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Accused poachers enter not guilty pleas
The two alleged out-of-season hunters charged in November with felony counts of property destruction in an apparent deer-shooting incident entered not guilty pleas during an arraignment hearing in the Ninth Judicial District Friday.
Both Cody R. Post, 23, of Riverton and Michael James Meeks, 25, of Daniel were charged on Nov. 17 with multiple Wyoming Game and Fish citations as well as the felony offense of property destruction. But rather than participating in a preliminary hearing, the two waived their rights to the hearing on Jan. 10, sending the case to the higher court.
According to court documents, Wyoming Game & Fish Game Warden Brad Hovinga stated in an affidavit that he had responded to the Rye Grass Draw area on Nov. 1 to investigate a reported poached mule deer.
The warden found a headless buck mule deer. Tire tracks from a dually pickup truck near the carcass left distinct tread pattern along with a boot track, coffee cup and shell casings, according to court documents. Deer season in that area had been closed for several weeks. Hovinga reported that it had been determined the deer carcass had probably been killed within the proceeding 24 hours. The evidence at the scene allegedly inculpated Meeks and Post in the killing of the deer, according to court documents.
Hovinga located Meeks’ vehicle, a white Dodge pickup with dual wheels and a tread pattern that allegedly appeared to be consistent with that found at the crime scene. Hovinga also allegedly noted a carpet piece in the tuck bed that appeared to have blood on it.
In speaking with Meeks and Post, both allegedly admitted to shooting the deer on Oct. 31 after dark, with Post allegedly shooting the deer twice and Meeks allegedly shooting once, according to court documents.
Property destruction and defacement in an amount greater than $1,000 is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years a fine of no more than $10,000, or both. Pursuant to Wyoming Statutes, a monetary value of a mule deer in Wyoming is $4,000.
Post was found guilty, however, on Jan. 5 of the Oct. 31 Wyoming Game and Fish citations for knowingly taking an antlered deer and sentenced to a six month suspended jail term, along with one year of unsupervised probation and a $5,000 fine.
Meeks was found guilty of the same citation offense on Dec. 22 and he was also and sentenced to a six month suspended jail term, along with one year of unsupervised probation and a $5,000 fine.
Hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for both Meeks and Post were also suspended for four years. Meeks and Post were also found guilty of wasting or abandoning big game and taking wildlife with artificial light. The two were both sentenced to suspended three-month jail terms for each of the two offenses with a $400 fine for the wasting charge and a $750 fine for hunting with artificial light.
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