Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS > 2008

WA: hunter reportedly a convicted felon

Judge to decide fate of man who shot deer
By Kristin M. Kraemer, Herald staff writer

A Sunnyside man said he wants a judge to decide his guilt or innocence on allegations he killed a buck deer out of season, then trespassed to retrieve the animal and dress it out.

Theodore J. Hoptowit, 38, waived his right to a jury trial.

A judge will hear testimony starting Oct. 13.

According to court documents, Hoptowit shot the buck Nov. 3 from Crooks Road in Benton County, then drove onto the property without the owner's permission.

He admitted the shooting to state wildlife officials, claiming treaty rights, documents said. But prosecutors argue the land was clearly privately owned because the field was cultivated and harvested for wheat.

Hoptowit reportedly is a convicted felon and used a rifle in the killing.

He is charged with second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, second-degree unlawful hunting of big game and second-degree criminal trespass.

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