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Monday, June 20, 2011

The largest case in state history involved the illegal killing of nearly 300 animals

A 26-year-old Springfield man has been sentenced to eight months in prison and three years of probation for his role in what Oregon State Police have called the largest deer poaching case in state history.
Miguel A. Kennedy was sentenced last week at the Lane County Jail after pleading guilty to four counts of identity theft, two counts of second-degree forgery, one count of unlawfully transferring hunting tags and one count of racketeering. Identity theft is a felony, as is racketeering, which is defined as collaborating with others in a pattern of criminal behavior using the same method to commit multiple crimes.
Kennedy’s pleas were related to his participation with several other Springfield residents charged in connection with the alleged illegal killing of nearly 300 deer between 2005 and 2010.
Racketeering is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $375,000 fine, but Lane County Circuit Judge Jack Billings found “substantial and compelling reasons” for a much lighter sentence recommended by both the state and Kennedy’s defense attorney in a plea agreement.
Those reasons include Kennedy’s willingness to provide “truthful testimony” in the state’s case against others involved in the scheme.
Kennedy will actually serve 14 months in prison, however, as a result of also violating terms of his probation in a previous case.
In a plea petition acknowledging his guilt, Kennedy also admitted helping the ring’s alleged leader, 37-year-old Shane Donoho, “defraud” the state Fish and Wildlife Commission by obtaining and hunting with licenses using other people’s identities.
Donoho, of Springfield, pleaded not guilty in April to one felony count of racketeering, five felony counts of identity theft, 10 felony counts of unlawful computer use and 58 misdemeanors.
The lesser charges include one count each of second-degree forgery, unlawful hunting of a cow elk and unlawful possession of a game mammal; five counts of unlawful taking of big game; and 50 counts of unlawful possession of big game parts.
Wildlife offenses are class A misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail and up to $6,250 in fines.
According to an April 9 grand jury indictment against the two men and seven alleged collaborators, some of the identities used in the scheme belonged to people who do not hunt.
Elk, antelope and bear also were killed illegally by members of the poaching ring, according to a state police statement released after the indictments.
Also still facing charges are Shane Donoho’s father, Rory Edwin Donoho, 59; his mother, Sandra L. Shaffer, 59; his wife, Laura A. Donoho, 36; his uncle, Gerald Stanton Donoho, 64; and three nonfamily members, all of Springfield.
All have pleaded not guilty and are scheduled to return to court June 29.
Billings also sentenced Kennedy to a total of 62 days in jail for the identity theft convictions, but ordered that all the poaching case sentences run concurrently with the 14-month sentence that Kennedy received for violating terms of his probation from a 2009 conviction for failure to register as a sex offender after a 2001 attempted sexual abuse conviction.

The judge also revoked Kennedy’s hunting privileges for life and ordered him to pay $800 in restitution to the state fish and wildlife department.

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