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Wednesday - June 30, 2004

ELIZABETH CITY - United States Attorney Frank D. Whitney announced that JOHN THOMAS PAYNE III and WILLIAM BUTLER MATTHEWS II were sentenced in federal court in Elizabeth City, N. C., on Monday, June 28, 2004, for federal wildlife violations.

PAYNE, 18, of 120 Broughton Street, Manteo, N. C., and MATTHEWS, 19, of 105 The Oaks, Manteo, N. C., pled guilty to using artificial light to view protected wildlife; shooting at protected wildlife; destruction of protected wildlife; and vandalism. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment.

Chief U. S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced each defendant to 18 months imprisonment. Also, both were ordered to pay $4,858.00 in restitution to the National Park Service for the vandalism and the loss of four deer.

The charges arose following the National Park Service's discovery of four deer, which had been killed by small caliber bullets and left intact at sites near the Bodie Island Lighthouse on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and the discovery of vandalized property at a nearby lighthouse bathroom building, which included several windows and a parking sign that had been shot. Assisted by the N. C. Wildlife Resources Commission, the National Park Service placed a mechanical decoy deer in a field near the lighthouse. During surveillance of the area, the law enforcement officers observed the defendants using a spotlight to illuminate the decoy and firing three shots toward the decoy deer.

The investigation was conducted by the National Park Service and the N. C. Wildlife Resources Commission. Assistant U. S. Attorney Barbara D. Kocher prosecuted the case for the United States.

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