The change of plea hearing for one of two men accused of multiple hunting violations in the Juneau area became a status hearing in Juneau District Court on Monday as both District Attorney Doug Gardner and defense attorney David Mallet, appearing by telephone for Park Myers, asked Judge Keith Levy for more time than the allotted court slot given.
Myers was not in the courtroom, having waived his right to attend proceedings, but Levy required Myers be in attendance for the rescheduled change of plea and sentencing hearing. That hearing is now scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Gardner said the state anticipated calling Alaska Wildlife Trooper Aaron Frenzel as a witness, and introducing an animal hide and images concerning the case into evidence.
A small group of people followed the proceedings and gathered outside the courtroom after to address the case against Meyer.
"I am not some wolf hugger," Alaskan wildlife photographer and author Nick Jans said. "I am an Arctic hunter. I have hunted and skinned for years and I have killed more wolves than most biologists have seen. Myers' attorney can re-legislate the truth all he wants but that doesn't make it true, it is well documented that these guys stalked this wolf. We understand the state has decided not to identify the wolf, well I know plenty of people who could look at that hide and tell you one way or the other."
Jans said Jeffery Peacock purchased his book "Glacier Wolf," which is about the black wolf Juneau residents called Romeo. Peacock faces similar charges as Myers stemming from the same incident.
However, Mallet submitted a sentencing memorandum last week which stated Myers shot and killed a 70-pound wolf 25 miles from the Mendenhall Glacier, where Romeo peacefully interacted with people and dogs. Romeo, Mallet wrote, was twice the size of the wolf Meyers killed.
Mallet also pointed out in his memo his client is charged with minor game violations, and if he is to be sentenced, should be sentenced accordingly.
Peacock and Myers originally pleaded not guilty to several charges stemming from an incident concerning a wolf kill Sept. 22, 2009, including bear baiting without a permit unlawful possession of game, hunting in a closed area and taking big game using unlawful methods.
The wolf they took has never been proven to be Romeo. However, Romeo did disappear from the Mendenhall Glacier area at about the same time as Peacock and Meyers allegedly participated in an illegal wolf kill.
"This is the most blatant case of game violations I have ever seen in my 14 years on the board," former Alaska Department of Fish & Game Board of Game member Joel Bennett stated. "And I am responsible for it being illegal to bait bear here in the 1C area. The Board of Game prohibited it in the Juneau sub-unit back in the 80's."
"There is no mob mentality here at any of these court proceedings," Alaska Wildlife Alliance president Tina Brown said. "This has nothing to do with Romeo. This has to do with two bears and a wolf being shot illegally. The AWA opposes such actions."
Contact reporter Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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