Poaching suspect arrested again


A Grand Junction man accused of poaching an elk near Dinosaur in January is now facing more serious charges.

William Robert Howard, 34, of Grand Junction, was arrested last week on charges of kidnapping, aggravated robbery, menacing, conspiracy to commit a crime and false imprisonment, all felonies.

Mesa County Sheriff's deputies arrested Howard at his home after receiving a report that Howard tried to rob an Orchard Mesa man at gunpoint.

The Orchard Mesa man told police that Howard, who referred to himself as "Bullets," came to his house May 18 with Trish Switzler, 25, of Grand Junction, and demanded more than $1,000 to pay for a friend's jail bond, according to the arrest affidavit.

The man told deputies that Howard and Switzler held him at gunpoint and drove him to a bank to withdraw money, according to the affidavit.

The bank was closed so Howard drove the man to a library to transfer the money on the Internet, according to affidavit.

When Howard turned his back, the Orchard Mesa man ran away and called police, according to the affidavit.

Mesa County Sheriff's deputies arrested Howard and Switzler on May 19.

Howard was scheduled to appear in Ninth Judicial District Court in Meeker on Friday on numerous wildlife charges stemming from January's poaching incident. He could not show up because he is in Mesa County Jail on $250,000 bail.

Judge T. Peter Craven issued a $39,000 warrant for Howard for failure to appear in court.

Howard is charged with two counts of hunting elk outside an established season, two counts of illegal possession of wildlife, waste of wildlife, willful destruction of wildlife and two counts of sale of wildlife.

Colorado Division of Wildlife officers arrested Howard at his home March 30.

Howard is accused of shooting a large bull elk on Colorado Highway 64, south of Dinosaur near the Moffat County-Rio Blanco County line in January.

The animal's head was removed, and its body was left to rot on the side of the road, according to the division of wildlife.

He was arrested based on statements he gave investigators and evidence recovered through a search warrant, according to the division.

Prosecutors in the poaching case did not return calls for comment Friday.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com.

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