Criminal Conference for Hunter Involved in Viral Video of Abuse of Deer Scheduled for This Week

BROOKVILLE, Pa. (EYT) – A teen hunter involved in the abuse of an injured deer that went public via a viral video is scheduled to have a criminal conference this week.

Court documents indicate a criminal conference for 18-year-old Alexander Brock Smith, of Brookville, has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 11, 2020.

Jury selection for a trial for Smith is currently scheduled for Monday, May 11, 2020. While the jury selection has been scheduled, as a formality, a plea deal could still be reached prior to any possible jury trial.

Court documents indicate the following charges against Smith were waived for court on Friday, January 10:

– Aggravated Cruelty to Animals – Torture, Felony 3 (two counts)
– Aggravated Cruelty to Animals – Causing SBI or Death, Felony 3 (two counts)
– Corruption of Minors, Misdemeanor 1
– Cruelty to Animals, Misdemeanor 2
– Tamper With/Fabricate Physical Evidence, Misdemeanor 2
– Drive Or Disturb Game, Summary 1
– Taking/Possession Of Game Or Wildlife, Summary 2
– Use of Device/Method Prohibited, Summary 4
– Violate Rules, Regulations Game Commission, Summary 5

The charges were then transferred to the Jefferson County Court of Common Pleas.

Smith remains free on $50,000.00 unsecured bail.

According to a release from the Pennsylvania State Game Commission, the same charges were also filed against a known 17-year-old male from Brookville. The Pennsylvania Game Commission does not release the names of minors who are charged with violations of the state Game and Wildlife Code.

The charges stem from an investigation into a video of two young hunters abusing an injured deer that went viral in late November.

Details of the case:

According to a criminal complaint, around 7:19 p.m. on November 30, 2019, State Game Warden Hartless emailed State Game Warden Special Investigator Hergenroeder information received by the Pennsylvania Game Commission regarding two individuals who were recorded on video kicking and stomping a live, wounded antlered white-tailed deer in the head multiple times.

Around 8:00 p.m. Game Warden Kimmel also sent Warden Hergenroeder a text message including the video that had been reported by an individual via social media depicting the two individuals engaged in the assault of the wounded deer with both individuals, including Alexander Smith and a known juvenile, named or identified in the social media post.

According to the complaint, the videos depict Smith and the juvenile intentionally and knowingly torturing, ill-treating, beating, and abusing a live antlered white-tailed deer.

An interview was conducted with the known juvenile and his legal counsel on December 3, 2019.

According to the complaint, the juvenile reported he and Smith were hunting in an enclosed tree stand on November 30 on the Smith property in the Summerville area in Beaver Township, Jefferson County. The juvenile reported that around noon, he shot the antlered deer seen in the video with a Savage Bushmaster .450 caliber rifle with one shot from the tree stand. He stated he then inadvertently ejected a live round out of the firearm onto the floor of the tree stand.

The juvenile told the game wardens that the wounded deer was approximately 150 yards from the tree stand, and as he and Smith approached, he shot a second time at approximately ten yards away and missed. He reported he did not have any other live ammunition with him to “finish off” the deer, so he and Smith began to repeatedly kick and stomp the deer, attempting to kill it.

The complaint notes the video shows the deer was temporarily paralyzed from the gunshot wound and attempted to struggle with each kick as Smith could be seen standing on the deer’s back leg.

According to the complaint, the juvenile stated he did not have a knife, as it was in his vehicle approximately 250 yards away. The juvenile confirmed the video was filmed on Smith’s iPhone Plus, and he stated Smith had sent the SnapChat video to others, including the juvenile.

In the video, the right antler can be observed hanging loosely on the deer’s head, and another video shows the antler removed from the deer’s skull while it is still alive, the complaint indicates.

The juvenile allegedly stated the antler fell off and that he had it in his vehicle at his residence in Brookville. He also allegedly stated the deer got up and ran off after their attempts to kill it failed, the complaint states.

According to the complaint, the juvenile said he had wrestling practice later that afternoon and was then contacted by Smith regarding the social media outcry. He reported Smith instructed him to delete the videos.

The complaint notes the juvenile provided the officers with his iPhone XS Max and turned off the passcode requirement on the phone. He also turned over the antler from the wounded deer.

On December 4, Warden Hergenroeder received information stating a known man was sent an original SnapChat video of the event from Smith on November 30. Warden Hergenroeder contacted the individual, who agreed to provide the video that he had saved on his cell phone.

The complaint states that Warden Hergenroeder also applied for and was granted a search warrant for Smith’s iPhone 8 Plus on December 4. Both Smith’s phone and the juvenile’s phone were submitted to the Pennsylvania State Police Computer Crime Unit in Meadville for forensic analysis on December 5.

On December 16, an interview was conducted with Smith and his legal counsel.

According to the complaint, Smith confirmed the assault on the deer occurred on November 30 around noon on his father’s property in Summerville. Smith allegedly stated he videoed the event on his iPhone 8 Plus using the SnapChat application.

Smith reported he was not carrying a firearm and the known juvenile was using a .450 Bushmaster rifle. Smith reported the juvenile shot the deer identified in the video and that as he and the juvenile approached the deer on the ground, the juvenile shot at it again at approximately 30 to 40 yards away. Smith noted the right antler was already broken when they approached the deer. He stated the antler was pulled off the deer’s head by the juvenile after the juvenile had begun to kick the deer’s head, the complaint indicates.

The complaint continues with Smith stating that he stood on the deer’s neck to crush its windpipe, and he kicked the deer in the throat area three times. He reported the deer ran approximately 20 yards, fell, and then got up and ran away. He went on to say he and the juvenile returned to the tree stand approximately 100 yards away where they recovered their gear, including the juvenile’s backpack.

He told the game warden the juvenile gathered additional live ammunition from the box of shells he had either in his backpack or from his vehicle parked on the property prior to moving to a large rock formation to continue hunting, according to the complaint.

According to the complaint, the video evidence showed that Smith began to video record himself then turned the mobile device to record the known juvenile repeatedly kicking the wounded deer in the left side of its head while Smith stood on its back leg.

From the audio in the recording, Smith could be heard instructing the known juvenile to take hold of the wounded deer’s antlers.

The complaint notes Smith recorded the event on the SnapChat application on his iPhone 8 Plus phone and the SnapChat videos were recorded in segments. An additional video depicts the known juvenile holding the wounded deer by the antlers and repeatedly stomping its head as Smith stands on its throat, while a third video depicts Smith kicking the wounded deer multiple times in the throat area with the right antler visibly missing from the deer’s head.

According to the complaint, Smith sent the SnapChat videos to the known juvenile as well as another known individual who reported the event.

The charges were filed against Smith and the known juvenile on January 10.

Smith is being represented by attorney Joseph Drew Ryan, of Reynoldsville.

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