Frankfort, KY - When Calloway County wildlife and boating officer Don Bellamy
answered a 5 a.m. phone call on a dark January morning, he gave little thought
to its leading to a marathon jury trial more than three months later.
But last week, a Calloway District Court jury levied three Tennessee men and one
woman with nearly $3,300 in fines after finding them guilty of spotlighting,
illegally taking and possessing a deer and possessing an untagged deer.
After a 12-hour long trial, the jury found Christopher Moreno, 26, his wife
Tiffany Moreno, 29, and Terry Tanner, 43, all of Paris, Tennessee, and Brian
Hinson, 19, of Buchanan, Tennessee, guilty.
Bellamy caught the four with a doe in the wee hours of the morning January 9th
that had been shot twice. After New Concord resident Billy McCuiston watched
them shining fields near his home and then heard the shots, he got into his own
vehicle and began following the violators.
He called the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife poacher hotline (1-800
25-ALERT) and reported the activity. Bellamy was quickly notified and made cell
phone contact with McCuiston. He stopped the white Pontiac Bonneville near the
New Concord Store.
"Their stories began to fail – to disagree," said Bellamy. "They had two
spotlights in the vehicle still plugged in. Then I asked them to open the trunk.
It was lined in plastic and there was the deer."
But Bellamy’s biggest surprise was yet to come. Despite possession of the
freshly killed deer still before daylight, spotlights, and an eye witness who
had recorded their license number as he followed, the four pushed for a jury
trial and then called Bellamy’s testimony false.
Tanner, testifying the longest, claimed the group was lost, had not previously
been in the New Concord area, and the spotlights were for reading road signs. He
claimed they found the deer.
But Calloway County Attorney Jeff Roberts produced Tanner’s 1998 Kentucky
drivers license that revealed he was a former New Concord resident, sealing the
Calloway District Judge Geanne Carroll fined Tanner $1,000 and court costs,
Christopher Moreno and Hinson $600 each and costs, and Tiffany Moreno $550 and
Bellamy is reminding everyone to keep the KDFWR emergency hotline handy.
"Poachers take wildlife that belongs to all Kentuckians," said Bellamy. "We made
this case because we were able to respond quickly after receiving the call."
Last Updated: 04/26/05