Three get jail time for shooting at Ohio officers’ vehicle

Urbana, Ohio – Three people were convicted and sentenced in
Champaign County Common Pleas Court for charges related to the
shooting of a state wildlife officer’s vehicle last October,
according to the DNR Division of Wildlife.

Jesse W. Coffey, Todd M. Noel and Jacob Shepherd pleaded guilty
to a total of 24 misdemeanor charges and four felonies on March 8,
2010, including hunting without a license, hunting without
permission, and improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle.
Coffey and Noel were each fined $300 and sentenced to 65 days in
jail, while Shepherd was fined $200 and sentenced to 50 days in
jail. A restitution fee of $1,979.81 will be divided among the
three suspects for damage to the DNR vehicle and damage to
approximately two acres of cropland. All three will serve 300 hours
of community service while under community control for the next
five years.

“The nature of the punishment was appropriate, as it set forth
strong consequences for anyone choosing to violate Ohio’s wildlife
laws. Their irresponsible behavior of mixing alcohol and firearms
without due care for the safety of the general public now carries
for them the loss of their freedom, the loss of their hunting
privileges, and a felony designation on their record for the rest
of their lives,” said Champaign County Prosecutor Nick A.
Selvaggio.

State Wildlife Officers Jeffrey Tipton and Adam Smith were in
the cruiser parked in a field conducting surveillance for poachers.
The suspects’ vehicle pulled into the field and directed its
headlights at the cruiser. One shot was fired, hitting the cruiser
in the front windshield. Officers turned on their emergency lights
and the suspects fled.

The wildlife officers pursued the suspects 4 1/2 miles from one
township to the next. The three suspects were apprehended with
assistance from the Ohio Highway Patrol and Champaign County
Sheriff’s Office.

“I believe that Champaign County Common Pleas Court Judge Roger
Wilson sent a message with his sentencing,” said Officer Tipton.
“There are severe consequences for the violation of Ohio’s wildlife
laws.”

Ken Fitz, assistant law enforcement administrator for the
Division of Wildlife, added, “I think this case illustrates the
inherent danger jacklighting poses to the public. Poachers can
never be completely sure of their target and what is beyond
it.”

The convictions and sentences were as follows:

• Jesse W. Coffey, 37, of St. Paris – Convicted on one felony
count of complicity to improper handling of a firearm in a motor
vehicle, one felony count of obstructing official business, and the
following misdemeanor counts: hunting deer during a closed season,
hunting deer with a prohibited firearm, hunting without permission,
jacklighting, criminal trespassing, and two counts of injury to
persons or property while hunting.

Coffey was sentenced to 65 days in jail, given a $300 fine, and
a share of the $1,979.81 restitution. He will serve 300 hours of
community service, which may include speaking at hunter education
classes and other instances requested by the Division of Wildlife.
He will be under community control for five years, with no contact
allowed between him and the other defendants. He shall not possess
a firearm or a hunting license, and may not engage in any hunting
activities.

• Todd M. Noel, 34, of St. Paris – Convicted on one felony count
of improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, and the
following misdemeanor counts: hunting without a license, hunting
deer during a closed season, hunting a deer with a prohibited
firearm, hunting without permission, jacklighting, criminal
trespassing, using weapons while intoxicated, and two counts of
injury to persons or property while hunting.

Noel was sentenced to 65 days in jail, given a $300 fine, and a
share of the $1,979.81 restitution. He will serve 300 hours of
community service, which may include speaking at hunter education
classes and other instances requested by the Division of Wildlife.
He will be under community control for five years, with no contact
allowed between him and the other defendants. He shall not possess
a firearm or a hunting license, and may not engage in any hunting
activities.

• Jacob Shepherd, 18, of St. Paris – Convicted on one felony
count of complicity to improper handling of a firearm in a motor
vehicle, and the following misdemeanor charges: underage
consumption, hunting deer during a closed season, hunting deer with
a prohibited firearm, hunting without permission, jacklighting,
criminal trespassing, and two counts of injury to persons or
property while hunting.

Shepherd was sentenced to 50 days in jail, issued a $200 fine,
and a share of the $1,979.81 restitution. He will serve 300 hours
of community service, which may include speaking at hunter
education classes and other instances requested by the Division of
Wildlife. He will be under community control for five years, with
no contact allowed between him and the other defendants. He shall
not possess a firearm or a hunting license, and may not engage in
any hunting activities.

Categories: Ohio – Mike Moore

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