September 24, 2011

From TimesUnion.com

SMITHLAND, Ky. (AP) — The hunting rights of a western Kentucky man have been revoked for 10 years after he entered an Alford plea in a poaching case involving turkey and deer.

Thirty-four-year-old David Ray of Smithland has also been fined $15,000. He entered the plea to 36 counts of illegal taking or possessing wildlife on Tuesday. The plea required Riley to acknowledge there’s enough evidence to convict him, but does not admit guilt. A judge sentenced Ray to two years in jail, but probated the sentence, meaning if Ray stays out of trouble, he will not have to report to jail.

Livingston County Attorney Billy Riley told The Paducah Sun that the case has garnered the largest fine of any poaching case he has prosecuted and has involved more charges than any previous case. (http://bit.ly/ra8Por).

Police say they found two turkeys and 34 deer heads in Ray’s home.

Ray had been scheduled to go on trial Friday.

Officers searching outbuildings, Ray’s home and his truck in January 2010 found 34 heads of bucks and two turkeys, mainly in freezers, Riley said.
Prosecutors alleged he shot the deer after shining a spotlight in their eyes to make them stand still.

Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Resources Officer Daniel Richardson said officers learned of the allegations after Ray’s ex-girlfriend reported them.

Eighteen of the bucks still had antlers covered in velvet, indicating they were shot during the spring or early summer and not in the fall hunting season, Richardson said. Ray did not have a permit to kill the deer.
Officers believed he killed the deer and turkey in 2009.

The case was delayed roughly eight weeks because of flooding in Smithland in both 2010 and 2011, Richardson said.

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