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Kane County Jury finds defendants guilty of Wanton Destruction of Wildlife after four-day trial

After a four-day trial that resolved around 10:30 p.m., on Friday, December 13, 2022, Alan Hamberlin was found guilty of Wanton Destruction of Protected Wildlife - specifically, of the shooting of a trophy buck in Utah, for which he did not have a legal permit. Despite Hamberlin’s claims that he shot the buck in Arizona – a region for which he did have a legal tag - the jury found that the evidence proved Hamberlin was knowingly in Utah when he took the fatal shot. Along with Hamberlin, Kane County resident Ryan Hatch was found guilty for aiding and abetting said Wanton Destruction of Protected Wildlife for his role in helping Hamberlin locate and shoot the buck in Utah.


Hatch was also charged for Obstruction of Justice regarding the case, for concealing evidence - allegedly getting rid of his phone and hiding the buck’s head - and providing false information to law enforcement; however, the State conceded that said allegations happened in Arizona and therefore the Utah jury did not have jurisdiction to find him guilty for Obstruction of Justice.


The pair will be brought in for sentencing in February of 2023. During the intermediate time, they will be subject to a pre-sentencing investigation, which will aid the court in determining the extent and severity of the sentence. According to the Kane County Attorney’s Office, a felony conviction under these circumstances likely results in three years’ probation, payment of restitution around $8,000 to go to Utah’s Stop Poaching fund, a fine of around $1,000 and potentially around 20 days jail time, community service or a combination of both. The defendants may also be ordered to return the trophy head, may be ordered not to possess or use firearms and will have hunting privileges revoked by wildlife protection officials at least for the duration of probation and likely longer pending said official's decision.


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