Rich jerk watch

Seattle's high-tech buffalo hunter pleads to a felony.
Seattle's high-tech buffalo hunter pleads to a felony.

Last spring I wrote about the case of Jeffrey Scott Hawn, chief exec executive of Seattle-based Attachmate, who was charged with the slaughter of a neighbor's buffalo herd in Colorado:

Apparently tired of a neighbor's buffalo herd coming onto his ranch, Hawn allegedly shot a bunch of the trespassers himself, then called in up to 14 other hunters to mow down his neighbor's animals in a mass killing. Together, they bagged 32 on Hawn's land, but also apparently on government (BLM) grazing land and other private property. None were taken for meat and a number were pregnant females.

Hawn faced "34 counts of theft, criminal mischief and aggravated cruelty to animals." Now comes an Associated Press report that Hawn has "pleaded guilty to criminal mischief and one count of cruelty to animals and agreed to pay $157,000 in fines and restitution, including $70,000 in donations to animal-welfare groups." According to the Rocky Mountain News, the criminal mischief count is a felony:

Under the agreement, when sentenced Jan. 28, he faces a two-year deferred judgment on the felony count and up to 10 days in the Park County jail on the misdemeanor charge. The plea agreement also calls for 96 hours of public service. ...

[Judge Stephen Groome said,] "If there's any violation of the law during that time, do you understand I can sentence you to an awful lot of years in the Department of Corrections?" Groome asked Hawn. "Just because of your economic status you're not going to be given any slack — two years to toe the line is two years to toe the line."

Hawn said he understood. Given the fact that his crimes outraged many of his rancher neighbors for its violations of the rules of the range, he'll likely be closely scrutinized.


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Knute Berger

Knute Berger

Knute “Mossback” Berger is Crosscut's Editor-at-Large.