Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Latest update on Warner/Roberts cases

The cases against two Ohio Division of Wildlife officers are following their respective - and expected - winding roads through the legal system.

Wildlife Division field supervisor David Warner appeared today in Brown County Common Pleas Court for a hearing.

That meeting was for an exchange of evidence discovery between the defense and Brown County Prosecutor Jessica Little, the court officer said.

Warner’s next court date is scheduled for 11 a.m., Sept. 19, a routine legal process, Little told The News-Herald.

And Matthew Roberts, state wildlife officer assigned to Clinton County, will have a hearing in the same court tomorrow (Wednesday) with almost certainly the same outcome expected.

Both men work out of the Wildlife Division’s District Five (southwest Ohio) office in Xenia.

Warner and Roberts were indicted in the Brown County Court of Common Pleas for theft in office, a fifth degree felony, and tampering with records, a third degree felony.

Warner was also indicted for dereliction of duty, a second degree misdemeanor.

A fifth degree felony is punishable by a jail term of six to 12 months, a maximum fine of $2,500 or both. A third degree Felony is punishable by a jail term of one to five years, a maximum fine of $10,000 or both.

A third degree misdemeanor is punishable by a jail term of not more than 60 days, a maximum fine of $500 or both.

The charges stem from the pair’s alleged activity of hunting while on duty, and for allegedly turning in bogus time slips that supposedly showed they were on duty when they were allegedly hunting with former state wildlife officer Allan Wright, who had been assigned to Brown County.

The indictments were handed down by Brown County Prosecutor Jessica Little. It was Little who in 2010 brought charges against five current or former Wildlife Division officers.

Wright has agreed to testify against Warner and Roberts in exchange for the reduced sentence he received after pleading guilty to violating the federal Lacey Act.

 Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

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