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Jury finds man guilty of poaching

August 11, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

Steven Lee Kendall's explanation of how he shot a deer last New Year's Eve failed to convince a Washington County Circuit jury, which found him guilty of poaching.

Kendall was given a 30-day suspended jail sentence for hunting/possession of deer in closed season and making a false entry on a public record, according to court records.

Kendall, 50, of Hagerstown, testified he shot an antlerless deer Dec. 31 with a muzzleloader on approved hunting grounds near Huyetts Crossroads, known as the AC&T property.

That would have been legal, according to hunting regulations in evidence.

Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Joe Michael produced pictures, expert ballistics testimony and eyewitness reports to convince the jurors that Kendall shot the deer with a .22 rifle on restricted property in the Four Locks area of Clear Spring known as Prather's or Ankeney's Neck.

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Frank W. King, of Clear Spring, testified he was on his own land in the area of Ankeney's Neck on Dec. 31 when he saw truck tracks in the snow on adjacent property.

"I heard a shot and saw Kendall dragging a doe to his truck," King said. "He drove by me at 4:45 p.m."

King reported the incident to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

King said he encountered Kendall at 7 p.m. that day at the Clear Spring Exxon deer checking station.

Michael told the jury Kendall told King he had shot the deer legally on the AC&T property.

Cpl. David Robertson testified he went to the Clear Spring Exxon in response to King's call.

"I found Kendall's name on a tag," Robertson said. "It said Region B which is the AC&T land."

Later that night, DNR officials went to Kendall's home at 215 N. Colonial Drive and confiscated the deer.

A Maryland State Police ballistics expert, Joseph Kopera, testified the bullet taken from the deer was fired from a .22 rifle. "No muzzleloader could have fired that," he said.

Kendall testified he shot the deer that day on the AC&T property with a muzzleloader, dressed it next to a stream and took it to his truck.

He said he was at Ankeney's Neck later that day to get wood, not to kill deer, and denied owning a .22 rifle.

Michael told the jury that the DNR officer found truck tracks and footprints at the AC&T property but no blood or hair. At the Ankeney's Neck site, entrails, blood and hair were found, he said.

"He broke the rules, which is unfair to others, and then he lied about it in writing," Michael said.

Judge Frederick Wright imposed the suspended sentence, placed Kendall on probation for two years and fined him $500.

According to court records, Kendall had a prior conviction for the same offense in 1998.

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