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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Mississippi

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 14, 2014

Three Mississippi Men Charged After Louisiana Black Bear Killed

Jackson, Miss – Travis Butler, 28, of Meridian, Chester Brad Williams, 49, of Meridian, and David Lucas Wimberly, 34, of Quitman, have been indicted for their involvement in the killing of a Louisiana Black Bear in Lauderdale County, Mississippi, and their subsequent obstruction of the investigation into that killing, U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis announced today. The Louisiana Black Blear is a protected species under the Endangered Species Act.

According to the indictment, on January 4, 2014, Butler caused another person to kill the bear. He and Williams then took the bear to Wimberly’s taxidermy to be mounted. When federal and state wildlife officers began their investigation into the killing on February 6, 2014, Butler, Williams and Wimberly destroyed evidence of their actions.

The defendants were arraigned on Tuesday, August 12, 2014, by U.S. Magistrate Judge F. Keith Ball and the case has been set for trial on October 6, 2014, before U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate.

The maximum penalty under the Endangered Species Act is up to 1 year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. The maximum penalty for obstructing the investigation is up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

The public is reminded that an indictment is a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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