Earlier in December of 2008 the Texas businessman, Jeffery Scott Hawn, who planned the slaughter of 32 bison belonging to South Park rancher Monte Downare, plead guilty to one count of criminal mischief and one count of cruelty to animals in the Park County District Court, Colorado.
Between Feb. 26, 2008 and March 14, 2008 Hawn authorized the bison slaughter by members of the Aztlan Native Community of Gardner, Colorado. According to court documents, Hawn wrote in a letter to the group that they should get started as quickly as possible. He said that they could hunt them, remove them or remove them live and take them to the location of their choice.
That winter was cold and windy with large amounts of blowing and drifting snow. The Downare family was working in extremely harsh conditions, often in minus 50-degree temperatures, checking fences and trying to keep the bison on their land. However, the bison had simply walked over the fences covered by snowdrifts.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Hawn will pay restitution of $483,362 to Downare, $70,000 to seven charities and $4,007 to the Park County Sheriff’s Department. He will probably have a deferred sentence and be placed on probation for two years. After two years if he stays out of trouble, the charges will be dismissed. Also under the terms of the agreement, the judge can impose up to 10 days in jail as a condition of probation. Hawn sentencing is January 28, 2009.