BISMARCK-One of four men charged in connection to deer poaching at the Dakota Access protest camps is the first to resolve his case.
Danny LeClaire, of Pocatello, Idaho, was charged a year ago with misdemeanor unlawful taking of a big game animal. On Wednesday, Feb. 22, South Central District Judge Bruce Romanick approved a pretrial diversion agreement filed by Morton County State's Attorney Al Koppy.
As part of the agreement, Koppy will dismiss the case if, after six months of deferred prosecution, LeClaire has committed no other crimes in North Dakota and paid $350 to the Report All Poachers program. LeClaire also forfeits his $150 bond to help pay $710 in court fees.
He had been set for trial Friday. North Dakota Game and Fish reported in March that he and three other men were charged from two separate incidents of deer poaching while at the opposition camps protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Court documents say that photos on social media from December 2016 showed LeClaire and co-defendant Sean Carney butchering an untagged deer. North Dakota Game and Fish officers investigated, reportedly flying over a protest camp for photos of the alleged scene.
Carney has not yet been arrested or appeared for the poaching crime, according to court records. Neither has William Larkin or William Bighorse. They are charged in connection to the killing of a white-tailed deer along the Cannonball River in November 2016, captured on video.
All four men were charged for misdemeanor unlawful taking of a big game animal. Carney is also set for trial in May on two protest-related misdemeanors.
State Chief Game Warden Robert Timian said the poaching cases are in the hands of the Morton County State's Attorney's Office after investigation.
Koppy and Morton County Assistant State's Attorney Brian Grosinger did not return phone messages left with their office.