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Jeffrey Peacock of Lebanon, Pa, the hunter who was guided by Juneau resident Park Myers during a series of big game hunting violations that included the shooting of a black wolf widely believed to be one called “Romeo,” was sentenced at a change of plea hearing in Juneau District Court on Tuesday.
Peacock, appearing by telephone before Judge Keith Levy, pled guilty to baiting a bear without a permit, unlawful possession of game and unsworn falsification concerning the shooting of a black wolf, all misdemeanors. Three other charges were dismissed.
For each of the three charges Peacock received a sentence of six months, all suspended; a $5,000 fine with $3,000 suspended; and three years probation.
As part of the agreement between the state and defense attorneys, the three sentences will run concurrently, meaning Peacock will pay a $2,000 fine plus a mandatory $600 statutory restitution and serve three probationary years. Peacock also has to forfeit hunting and fishing privileges for three years. However, he will not be required to forfeit his firearms to the state.
Before imposing the sentence, Levy said, “Mr. Peacock, I don’t know how aware you are, but this case certainly garnered a lot of attention. The things that are alleged here in some ways one could look at this as a typical fish or game violation and I think that this sentence that has been prepared is consistent with the kind of sentences that the court imposes┐typically in cases┐where someone doesn’t have a criminal history. Essentially it is a first offense, an opportunity to basically view rehabilitation as correcting an error in judgement, an opportunity to show that this is not the kind of behavior you want to continue.
“I can’t ignore the fact that a lot of people in the community feel that this case is different and that the wolf involved was something special to this community. People are angry about it and unhappy about it. I don’t think that pushes me toward imposing a sentence that involves jail on a first offense. I think that would be extremely rare and that would be inconsistent with the sentencing criteria that I have to consider. But I mention these things because I do think it is important to recognize that the errors in judgment experienced here are serious things and things that this community takes seriously.”
Alaska Wildlife Troopers arrested Peacock 46, and Myers, 40, on May 21 after a lengthy investigation with the United States Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. During the investigation it was found that Peacock and Myers had unlawfully taken one wolf and two black bears in the Juneau area and were operating an unlawful bear baiting site along the road system. Peacock was arrested after a warrant was issued for unsworn falsification, taking big game in a closed area; bait bear without permit and three counts of unlawful possession of game. Myers was arrested under a warrant for taking big game by unlawful methods, baiting bear without permit and three counts of unlawful possession of game.
Myers pleaded guilty Nov. 3, 2010 to unlawfully taking big game by using a rim fire cartridge to take a wolf, unlawful possession of that wolf, establishing a black bear station to hunt bear using bait or scent lures without an Alaska Department of Fish & Game permit and two additional counts of unlawful possession of game stemming from incidents from May 2009 and May 2010.
Myers was sentenced to 330 days (all suspended), $12,500 in fines ($7,500 suspended), restitution of $1,100, forfeiture of three rifles and suspension of hunting privileges during his probation.
• Contact Klas Stolpe at
523-2263 or firstname.lastname@example.org.