Three Indicted in Death of Black Bear

Jackson, Miss. Three local men have been indicted on a charge they killed a Louisiana black bear in Lauderdale County.

Travis Butler, 28, of Meridian, Chester Brad Williams, 49, of Meridian, and David Lucas Wimberly, 34, of Quitman, were indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with a Jan. 4, 2014, incident.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Jackson, the trio is also accused of obstructing the investigation.

The Louisiana Black Blear is a protected species under the Endangered Species Act.

According to the indictment, on Jan. 4, Butler caused another person to kill the bear. He and Williams then took the bear to Wimberly’s taxidermy to be mounted. When federal and state wildlife officers began their investigation into the killing Feb. 6, Butler, Williams and Wimberly destroyed evidence.

The trial is set for Oct. 6 before U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate.

The maximum penalty under the Endangered Species Act is up to 1 year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. The maximum penalty for obstructing the investigation is up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The investigation was conducted by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.