Wildlife officer’s shooter guilty on all counts
Wilmington, Ohio — The man who shot a wildlife officer in Ohio last December in rural Clinton County was found guilty of all charges, including two felonies.
Brian Liming, 44, of Jamestown, was found guilty by a jury on Nov. 10 after the panel deliberated for about three hours, according to an account in the Times-Gazette of Hillsboro.
Liming was found guilty of assault, a fourth-degree felony, tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, hunting without a deer permit and hunting without a license, both misdemeanors.
The charges against Liming stem from the December 2020 shooting of Kevin Behr, a longtime southwest Ohio wildlife investigator with the ODNR Division of Wildlife.
Wildlife officers, including Behr, had set up a deer poaching investigation near the small village of Martinsville in Clinton County when the shooting occurred.
The Times-Gazette, citing law enforcement authorities, said Liming had exited his vehicle and went into a wooded area where he had heard there was a big buck. He fired a shot in attempt to chase said deer out of the woods and the projectile struck Behr.
“Hunting with a 20-gauge (shotgun) and thermal-optic scope, he discharged his firearm and struck Ohio wildlife investigator Kevin Behr, who was present on the property and in the process of setting up an investigation upon complaints of poaching from the road,” said Clinton County Prosecutor Andrew McCoy, according to the newspaper. “Officer Behr called to Liming to stop shooting, to call 911, and for aid. Liming discarded his firearm and thermal-optic scope, and did not call 911 despite having a phone, and fled.”
McCoy said Liming was apprehended a short time later walking down a road and he denied having any involvement in the shooting.
In addition to local first responders, other wildlife officers, including Jason Keller, Matt Roberts, and Eric Lamb, came to Behr’s aid on the scene of the shooting.
Behr was flown by helicopter to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he remained for three months after undergoing multiple surgeries for his injuries.
Still recovering, Behr was able to testify at Liming’s trial.
“I would personally like to acknowledge the courage of investigator Behr,” said McCoy in a news release. “He has spent his life as a dedicated public servant and he and his wife Kathy are two of the strongest and most inspiring individuals I have had the pleasure to meet.”
With the trail of Liming completed – though the actual sentencing was scheduled for Nov. 16 – Ohio DNR Director Mary Mertz was able to comment.
The agency was deeply involved in the incident’s investigation and the affair was keenly watched by the department’s entire law enforcement community. Officers with the department, and especially the wildlife division, lent considerable support and comfort to Behr and his family.
In her prepared remarks, Mertz noted that “wildlife officers put themselves at great risk to serve and protect.”
“We appreciate all that they do, and thank everyone who helped achieve justice in this case,” Mertz said.
Ohio Outdoor News will update this story in the Dec. 3 print edition if new information, including sentencing, becomes available.