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Wild Horse Shooters to Stand Trial – TheDesertIndependent Reports…

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on April 22, 2010

April 22, 2010 @ 1745hrs: Ok… I talked with Natalie Collins today. She is the Public Affairs Specialist, Office of Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney, District of Nevada. (Whew! That’s a mouthful!) Natalie explained a few things:

There have been charges filed against these two individuals and the initial court date has been set, but that’s all at this point. The initial court date will be the 27th of April, which is next week. They will appear in a federal court before a federal magistrate judge. That federal magistrate judge will then set a trial date after hearing the pleas of the two defendants. They have been charged with one Class A misdemeanor offense each under federal law. “Each individual has been charged with one count of causing the death of five wild horses.

The question that has been asked the most in my inbox is why weren’t each of these two charged for each of the five horses deaths (for a total of ten charges). The following is MY interpretation of Natalie’s explaination, NOT her exact words – which were a bunch of legal terms and blah blah blah. The reason for this is that the US Attorney’s Office charged the two suspects with the charge that they believed would result in a conviction given the evidence presented and that given said evidence would be the most likely charge to produce a conviction. This specific charge would also hold the strongest penalty for the crime indicated by that charge. (Wow! I’m not going to be able to talk straight for a week after this! And that was the condensed version!)

So basically what it boils down to is this: They have evidence. They have enough evidence to file charges. They may not have enough evidence to pursue stricter charges. Given the gravity of the situation and the heinous nature of the crimes, a conviction that is more likely to hold up in court is better than a conviction that may not hold up in court – thus allowing these two to not be punished. Natalie sounded very displeased when we spoke of these two possibly being found not guilty. She was not able to go into more detail at this time due to the sensitivity of the legal proceedings. I did not push her further because I do not want to have any “hiccups” in this trial as a result of anything I have said or reported. I want this to be a slam-dunk case with the smoothest sailing as possible! I will try my best to post any further information I find as soon as possible. The following is a link to the DOJ Press Release pertaining to this case: Two Pershing County Men Charged With Killing Wild Horses

Wild Horse Shooters to Stand Trial

The Desert Independent

April 22, 2010

RENO, Nevada – The Cloud Foundation and other wild horse advocates will be in Reno on April 27 at 3:00 PM to witness Todd Davis and Joshua Keathly make their first court appearance for allegedly harassing and killing five federally protected American wild mustangs, shot on or about November 28, 2009 in Washoe county, Nevada. U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert A. McQuaid, Jr. will preside in Federal District Court, 400 S. Virginia Street, Reno.

Wild horse advocates find it unsettling to learn that Davis & Keathley are only charged with one count of causing the death of five wild horses for each man. Advocates are calling for charges of five counts, one for each horse as is standard with murder cases. If convicted of one count, each man will face a maximum of one year in prison and a maximum $100,000 fine.

“If convicted, the maximum penalties need to be applied to send a clear message, you kill America’s federally protected mustangs and you will pay the price,” states Emmy-Award winning filmmaker and Director of The Cloud Foundation, Ginger Kathrens.

The public is encouraged to attend the trial on behalf of the murdered horses. The Cloud Foundation joins the public in calling for increased charges in the violent deaths of five American mustangs on public land who are protected by the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971.

The HSUS Commends Officials for Charges Filed in Nev. Wild Horse Killings

March 11, 2010: The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust commend Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada, along with a host of federal and state law enforcement officials for their diligent efforts to apprehend and charge two suspects for killing a band of six federally protected wild horses found in northern Washoe County, Nev., in early December. On Wednesday, two Pershing County, Nev. men —Todd Davis, 44, and Joshua Keathley, 36, both of Lovelock, Nev. — were charged with the malicious harassment and death of five wild free-roaming horses by shooting them.

The Case:

A Bureau of Land Management press release and news reports give the following account: On Dec. 5, 2009, a helicopter crew conducting a wild-horse gather saw five mustang carcasses in one area and a sixth, dead mustang about a half-mile away from the others. BLM officials from the Surprise Field Office in Cedarville, Calif., recognized the dead mustangs as belonging to a clan of (read more…)


13 Responses to “Wild Horse Shooters to Stand Trial – TheDesertIndependent Reports…”



  2. Morgan Griffith said

    Any chance at prosecution for abuse of any animal wild or domestic needs to be treated as harshly as the laws written allow. If the current law does not allow for prosecution as a felony then they need to be re=written. Sentences handed down need to be to the maximum allowed not the minimum. Animal abuse needs to be seen for what it is–an attack on a perceived weaker being for the gratification of the abuser. We do not want these people walking amongst us.

  3. Linda said

    As I remember from our abused horse felony cases, once the charges have been filed, you can’t increase the counts. I think the prosecution can mount an appeal and perhaps get an increase, but that requires time & money. If the government sincerely wants to send a message they WILL enforce their own laws, now would be a good time to do it.

    I pray the prosecutor will not even consider a plea bargin. Then the judge can bind these criminals over for trial. If it’s a jury trial, the two might win because of where the trial would be held (NV), and the possibility of seating a jury sympathetic to wild horse (feral livestock) killers and unwilling to subject the accused to a felony conviction that will follow them the rest of their lives or a fine that will burden their families.

    Does anyone know who will be prosecuting the case?

    • Trying to grab details now…

    • Best I know at this point… The US Attorney’s Office, District of Nevada. Specifically, it seems that it would be either Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for state of Nevada -or- Sue Fahami, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the state of Nevada. Whether or not this will be the case remains to be seen until further information is released.

  4. By the way… There is a Felony Charge in the State of Nevada for this same crime. It is unclear at this point why the State did not file the charges themselves. I asked Natalie if the reasoning was because of the offense occuring on Federal Lands and in violation of a Federal Law. She said, “No, there is a law for this in the State of Nevada. We also have jurisdiction because we are the US Attorney’s Office – District of Nevada, but our charge is federal and not state.”
    I don’t fully understand this just yet, but it seems to me (at this point) that the State of Nevada did not pursue the case and therefore the US Attorney’s Office picked up the torch. Of course, I may be wrong.

    NRS 206.150 Killing, maiming, disfiguring or poisoning animal of another person; killing estray or livestock.

    1. Except as otherwise provided in subsections 2 and 3, any person who willfully and maliciously kills, maims or disfigures any animal belonging to another, or exposes any poison or noxious substance with intent that it should be taken by the animal is guilty of a category D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $10,000.

    2. Except as otherwise provided in NRS 205.220, a person who willfully and maliciously kills an estray or one or more head of livestock, without the authority to do so, is guilty of a category C felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.

    3. The provisions of subsection 1 do not apply to any person who kills a dog pursuant to NRS 575.020.

    4. As used in this section:

    (a) “Estray” means any livestock running at large upon public or private lands in this state, whose owner is unknown in the section where the animal is found.

    (b) “Livestock” has the meaning ascribed to it in NRS 205.219.

    [Part 1911 C&P § 488; RL § 6753; NCL § 10435]—(NRS A 1961, 402; 1967, 513; 1979, 1395; 1999, 2515; 2001, 2891)

    • Linda said

      Nevada may have passed on the case because they considered the feds had a better chance of getting a conviction and maximum penalties. Also, the feds have much deeper pockets.

      Here’s another thing to consider. Had Nevada successfully prosecuted the case, there could have been major blow back within the state from those who want the wild horses gone by whatever means anyone can get away with.

      Now, no matter which way the verdict comes down, Nevada can claim its hand are clean. I know this is a cynical way to look at our “system of justice”, but to me, it is what it is until proven otherwise.

      • Very Well Said!

      • SANDRA LONGLEY said

        I agree…I do think it is important that we show up for that arraignment -to show the government we are not interested in any kind of plea bargin in this case..which they typically do..We want full justice to be meted out and not a slap on the wrist-and to serve as some kind of a deterent..altho, I am not convinced that someone who would commit this act has the mental where with all to ever know right from wrong..I would like to know how the water dept hired these two lugnuts and have they been fired?

        • SANDRA LONGLEY said

          I hope we can get pictures of these two jackasses..I suspect they gut shot the 6th horse that was found 1/2 a mile away…This was a whole family they murdered, not just 6 individuals..maybe we should bring stuffed horses to the memorial and set it up outside the court house-in memory of the Buckhorn Family

        • said

          As unfortunate as it is, we’ve seen more than a few examples of individuals who were “psychologically fit” for employment. It was only later that the world found out on the evening news that they were in fact *not* “psychologically fit” for anything further than a padded cell. While the two in this case are – in our eyes – on the same level, most other members of the general public don’t. A strong showing of public involvement in this court case for the support of their full punishment *will* bring this injustice and others like it into the limelight. T.

          • SANDRA LONGLEY said

            I think we have actually seen in most those cases-that people do exhibit signs or tends toward violent behavior or inappropriate behavior and have made comments that indicate that tendentcy and there is always an outcry after the acts are committed demanding why no one was drawing some conclussions. Someone in the circle of friends family or co-worker/social groups-has seen it or heard it…which is why schools are so alert to ANY possible indications of violence.stop it before it happens..there is the possibility that it is socially acceptable in their peer group in Nevada to make those kinds of comments..The trial will reveal how they discovered these two guys were caught..I suspect the reward money in combination with comments or bragging was their undoing

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