Jefferson County DA on Deer Abuse Case: ‘We Are Bound by Law’

JEFFERSON CO., Pa. (EYT) – Jefferson County District Attorney Jeff Burkett issued a statement on the sentencing of a Jefferson County teen who pled guilty to cruelty to animals recently.

On Wednesday, May 6, Alex Smith entered a negotiated plea of guilty to Cruelty to Animals, a second-degree misdemeanor under Pennsylvania law, as well as multiple Game Code violations stemming from a video he posted on social media of he and a juvenile co-defendant abusing an injured whitetail deer.

Smith received a sentence of two years probation and fines totaling $2,150. As part of the agreement, Smith’s hunting privileges have been revoked for a period of 15 years.

“There was certainly a huge outcry from certain segments of the public on this case,” Jefferson County District Attorney Jeff Burkett said in a statement released Monday afternoon.

“This was because it was captured on video and everyone could see the crimes being committed. Certainly, these videos were repulsive and no decent person could ever condone what was depicted in them.

“Notwithstanding the public outcry, we are bound by law, facts, and the sentencing guidelines. After numerous consultations with officers from the Pennsylvania Game Commission, county detectives, other law enforcement officers and the Western District United States Attorney’s Office, we were convinced that the misdemeanor Cruelty to Animals charge was the one that fit the facts of the case. The sentencing guidelines for that charge call for a probationary sentence. Also, we obtained an extensive revocation of Smith’s hunting privileges until well into his 30’s.”

“I want to thank the officers of the Pennsylvania Game Commission who worked very hard on this case and were an invaluable source of counsel and wisdom in bringing this matter to a successful resolution.”


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