David Barry, Jr. and a group of his relatives were nabbed by the Missouri Department of Conservation after poaching hundreds of deer over the last few years. Worse still, as USA Today reports, “’The deer were trophy bucks taken illegally, mostly at night, for their heads, leaving the bodies of the deer to waste,’ said Lawrence County’s prosecuting attorney, Don Trotter.”
The case involves David Berry Sr. of Springfield; son David Berry Jr., 29, of Brookline; son Eric Berry, 20, of Everton, and Berry Sr.’s brother, Kyle Berry of Everton. State, federal and Canadian law enforcement agencies and conservation officers took part in a multi-year investigation involving the men and other suspects in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Canada.
Fourteen Missouri residents have been tied to more than 230 charges in 11 Missouri counties, according to a Missouri Department of Conservation news release.
The scofflaw family didn’t confine their illegal activities to ungulates, either.
Before interviews in July 2016, David Berry Sr. and Eric Berry had been convicted of taking gamefish by hand, an illegal activity that can involve nets, explosives, electricity or spear guns rather than using a pole or rod and reel. During the 2017 firearms deer season, while awaiting his court appearance for violations from the 2016 investigation, Eric Berry and an accomplice were caught using a spotlight to freeze deer in their tracks, also illegal.
To date, this group of poachers has paid $151,000 in bonds and $51,000 in fines and court costs and collectively served 33 days in jail.
So when sentencing David Barry, Jr. this week to a year in the pokey, the presiding judge got creative . . .
The case was so egregious that Judge Robert George of Missouri’s 39th Judicial Circuit, which consists of Barry, Lawrence and Stone counties about 225 miles southwest of St. Louis, ordered a special addition to the jail term for one of the poachers.
David Berry Jr. must “view the Walt Disney movie Bambi with the first viewing being on or before Dec. 23, 2018, and at least one such viewing each month thereafter, during defendant’s incarceration in the Lawrence County Jail.”
We’re not sure, but we’d guess the professional poacher won’t be particularly moved by Disney’s depiction of lawful hunting.
Now if the judge really wanted to inflict some punishment on Barry, perhaps something from George Lucas . . .