DA files additional charges against area ranchers

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— The 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office in Craig has filed additional charges against two Moffat County ranchers previously charged with felony and misdemeanor wildlife crimes.

Rodney Culverwell, 41, and Kenneth Wolgram, 43, each were initially charged April 1.

Culverwell was charged with 18 counts of willful destruction of wildlife, a Class 5 felony, and 18 counts of illegal possession of wildlife, a misdemeanor.

Wolgram was charged with 16 counts of each of the same charges.

In Culverwell's case, Chief Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Snow filed 72 additional charges, which were 18 misdemeanor counts of hunting without a license, 18 misdemeanor counts of hunting out of season, 18 misdemeanor counts of failing to dress wildlife and 18 sentence enhancer counts for illegal possession of wildlife.

Deputy District Attorney Ed Veronda filed 19 additional charges against Wolgram, which were 16 counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, a Class 6 felony, and three counts of tampering with physical evidence, also a Class 6 felony.

The District Attorney's Office charged both men after investigations by Colorado Division of Wildlife officers earlier this year.

DOW search warrant affidavits filed in the Moffat County Courthouse state DOW officers found dead elk on each man's property on multiple occasions.

Possible penalties

for new charges

Culverwell faces new misdemeanor charges, as well as sentence enhancer charges, which are aggravating circumstances that increase penalties if they are proven at trial.

In this case, Colorado statutes say that a person found guilty of illegal possession of wildlife who possesses three or more animals faces a new maximum fine of up to $10,000 for each animal, or imprisonment for up to one year.

A person found guilty of illegally possessing three or more animals also may have hunting and fishing license privileges suspended for a period of one year to life.

Each count of hunting without a license and hunting out of season carry penalties of 15 license suspension points and a fine equal to two times the amount of the most expensive hunting license for the species taken.

Failure to dress charges each carry a $300 fine and 15 license suspension points.

Wolgram faces charges of two additional felony crimes.

Each count of aggravated cruelty and tampering in this case carries a possible range of one year to three years imprisonment, with a one-year mandatory parole period.

However, each aggravated cruelty count increases to a Class 5 felony if a person is convicted of two or more. In that case, each aggravated cruelty count carries a range of one to three years imprisonment, with a two-year mandatory parole period.

Trial dates

Culverwell, who is represented by Pamela Mackey of Denver, is scheduled for a jury trial at 8:15 a.m. Aug. 25 in District Court.

A motions hearing is set for 8:30 a.m. Aug. 13. That date also is the deadline for Culverwell to enter into a plea agreement with the District Attorney's Office, should he choose to do so.

Wolgram, defended by Kristopher Hammond of Steamboat Springs, is scheduled for a jury trial Nov. 3. The date was reset to a later date because Judge Shelly Hill had a scheduling conflict.

A motions hearing in that case - which also marks Wolgram's plea agreement deadline - is set for 8:30 a.m. June 25.

Comments

50cal 6 years, 7 months ago

I wonder where they will move the trials to. I think it would be hard to sit an unbiased jury.

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oldsage 6 years, 7 months ago

I would not want the trial moved if I were a defendant. Judged by your peers means other ranchers who have had to deal with the DOW too! Also as I mentioned earlier the DA has now done the usual "Over Charge the defendant(s) in the hopes of forcing a Plea Deal" from the defendant(s). Not likely in these cases!

Also noted, there doesn't seem to be a forum in the online paper anymore. Is this like in 2006 when the paper decided not to allow the public to discuss the previous unethical behavior of their (The Newspaper's) favorite candidate by suspending the forum for two weeks prior to the election? What don't they want the people to know now?

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50cal 6 years, 7 months ago

oldsage it does seem harder to navigate through now does't it. I wonder how much the paper pays attn. to this anyway. it does seem that the ranchers would be a little more understanding but ranchers isn't all they seat. I never got in on the first discussion of this topic but I can remember the bad winter of the early 80s elk would lay down from weakness the coyotes and even the foxes would eat the asses right out of them while they lay there. I guess maybe the game and fish were alot more understanding back then. I probably killed more that winter to put them out of their misery than both of these guys combined. I don't know what all happened out there no one does but these two, I hope it was mercy.

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