by Thomas Fraser
of The Daily Times Staff
A Louisville man acting as his own attorney argued unsuccessfully
Friday that he was not guilty of hunting deer over bait.
James D. McCoy Jr. was charged in November after being caught by
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Wildlife Officer Jeff Pearce in a
tree stand on his farm between Meadow View and Wayne Bryant roads with a
high-powered rifle near field corn and whole-kernel corn scattered along
a tree line.
Pearce had periodically investigated the area after discovering the
McCoy represented himself Friday before Blount County General
Sessions Court Judge David Duggan. His arguments -- which saw frequent
objections from Assistant District Attorney General Nichole Bass --
failed to persuade Duggan he was innocent of the charges.
He was found guilty, and lost his hunting, fishing and trapping
privileges for two years. He was also fined $500, assessed court costs,
and had his hunting rifle confiscated.
``For a wildlife case, that's a pretty good penalty,'' said Wildlife
Officer Joe Everett after the conclusion of the trial. ``Judge Duggan
has taken the stance that wildlife is an important part of our society,
and he feels that just because it's the type of case that doesn't
involve what people consider to be regular criminal activity, it
shouldn't be treated any less severely,'' Everett said.
``He takes our cases just as seriously as any other cases. It makes
it real nice to bring cases in front of him,'' Pearce said of Duggan.
``It gives you a little more drive to get the job done. He stands behind
you if you bring enough proof to him.''
Two other wildlife cases were reset on Friday -- one for the second
The first involved the cases against 16 men accused of hunting black
bears over bait on two private property parcels in late September near
Tallassee and the Foothills Wildlife Management Area.
The other involved multiple illegal hunting and wildlife possession
charges against Bobby Lee Koons and Rhonda Bryant Koons. The Tallassee
couple were allegedly found in possession of deer, bear, boar and turkey
parts at their home earlier this month. The possession of parts charges
were leveled against Bobby Lee Koons; Rhonda Bryant Koons was charged
with one count of giving false information.
Both the bear-baiting and wildlife parts cases were reset for 9 a.m.
April 28 in General Sessions Court.