Four defendants facing multiple hunting violations from an incident in October 2001 reached a negotiated settlement when their case, heard before a six-person jury, was declared a mistrial because of a late submission of evidence. The mistrial was declared without prejudice, meaning that the defendants could be tried again on the same matter.
Charles Peterson, 61, of Halfway, Walter Dillman, 58, of Halfway, Timothy Smith, 32, of Baker City and Michael Murray, 55, of Eugene agreed to pay a total fine of $2,000 and forfeit all rights to the 7-point bull elk in question.
On Oct. 24, 2001 during elk season Peterson was charged with the unlawful taking of elk in a prohibited area and hunting without a valid elk tag. The other three men were each cited for aiding in a game violation and hunting without a valid elk tag.
According to Oregon State Police Trooper Seth Cooney who, along with Senior Trooper Walt Hawkins, made the arrest, the bull elk was taken in the Imnaha Unit instead of the Pine Creek Unit in which the men had tags. Cooney said that the South Fork of the Imnaha River is the boundary between the units and the elk was taken 1/4 mile inside the Imnaha Unit.
Cooney and Hawkins made the arrests while patrolling on horseback.
The jury trial went on for 5 1/2 hours Sept. 26 before Circuit Court Judge Philip Mendegurin declared the mistrial without prejudice. Wallowa County district attorney Dan Ousley was involved in the negotiated settlement.
The meat from the elk, packaged and stored after the arrest, will be given to a charitable organization