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The Bear Necessities
July 28, 2004 — 7:00 pm

Man who killed bear rejects plea bargain:

An eastern Kentucky man charged with illegally killing a bear in his backyard has refused to plead guilty in order to avoid the possibility of jail time, opting instead to have his case heard in front of a jury.

Terry Brock, 36, of Mayking, said the bear was a renegade and that he killed it to protect his family.

The Letcher County man faces from 30 days to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 if convicted. He said the county prosecutor offered a plea bargain that would have required no jail time but he would have had to pay a $250 penalty, give up his hunting privileges and the heirloom 30-30 caliber rifle he used to shoot the bear.

“I didn’t want to do that,” Brock said. “I don’t feel like I did anything wrong.”

District Judge Jim Wood set Brock’s trial for Sept. 20.

Brock, who has three children, said he walked out his door on June 2 to see what had his dogs and horse so disturbed and came face to face with the bear. He said he jumped back inside, asked his wife to call the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife for help, and began banging on the wall of his mobile home, hoping the noise would frighten the wild animal away.

When that didn’t work, Brock said he grabbed an heirloom rifle and fired.

Sounds like self defense to me. I mean, knowing what I know about bears (I spent my childhood in rural Montana), I sure as hell would have done the same thing. The officials at the Kentucky office of Fish and Wildlife think differently

Letcher County Attorney Harold Bolling couldn’t be reached to comment Wednesday. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, which filed the charge against Brock, doesn’t want the case dropped.

“This is our first case,” Frank Campbell, a conservation officer assigned to Letcher County, told WYMT-TV in Hazard. “I feel it’s a very important case for us.”

Meanwhile (for a juxtaposition), in Denver, Colorado:

Wanted man’s uncle slain after cop mistakes soda can for weapon:

Denver Police Chief Gerry Whitman said Monday that an officer likely mistook a soda can for a weapon before shooting and killing a 63-year-old man in his bed.

Frank Lobato was shot once in the chest Sunday night during a police search for a domestic violence suspect. Lobato, a career criminal and formerly homeless man who neighbors said was disabled, was not involved in the domestic dispute.

Instead, officers were searching the home, 1234 W. 10th Ave., for Lobato’s nephew, Vincent Martinez, who was wanted on suspicion of domestic violence, assault and false imprisonment. Martinez, 42, was captured Monday evening.

Some neighbors and community members called the shooting questionable – and worse.

“I think it is disgraceful,” said neighbor Rose Salaz. “I don’t see how they can just go into people’s houses shooting people. … They are supposed to protect us.”

Who here wants to bet that the shooter of the bear gets a worse punishment than the Denver police officer responsible for the above stated carnage?

But wait, there’s a twist to the story.

Fliers Offer $5,000 Bounty For Police Officers

An unknown group has been planting fliers offering a bounty of at least $5,000 to anyone who kills police officers, an apparent reaction to a recent fatal shooting by police.

The fliers from a group identified only as “N.E.F.F.” were found Monday on car windshields in a section of the city where officer Ranjan Ford Jr. shot and killed Frank Lobato, a 63-year-old invalid, on July 11. Ford was responding to a report of domestic violence when he mistook a soda can in Lobato’s hand for a gun.

The fliers feature photographs of Lobato and Paul Childs, a 15-year-old developmentally disabled teen shot by another officer last summer. They offer $5,000 for a “crooked cop’s life” and “$10,000 a badge”.

The department’s intelligence unit is investigating the threat but safety manager Al LaCabe said he it’s not clear whether it is legitimate.

“I don’t know if it’s something just designed to spark a reaction or get a message across, or if it’s genuine,” he said. “It’s certainly something that’s serious. The danger of that kind of message is that it’s divisive and does nothing to attempt to deal with the issue we have.”

Curiouser and curiouser.

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— Justin M. StoddardComments (0)

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