Deer DNA spurs hunter to enter guilty plea
Deer DNA was used as evidence against a Derry Township man who authorities said illegally poached multiple animals during last year's archery season.
Dennis Liberoni, 59, pleaded guilty Friday to one summary count of violating the state's game laws after a search of his home in November found remnants of as many as eight deer.
Wildlife conservation officer Brian Singer said in court documents that an anonymous complaint led officials to Liberoni's home in November.
A search of the property turned up antlers, deer hair and blood. The Game Commission sent the items to a deer DNA laboratory at East Stroudsburg University, where experts determined they came from multiple animals.
Singer said Liberoni had licenses, called tags, to bag up to three deer.
Outside the courtroom, Liberoni denied any wrongdoing.
“I shot a deer and put a tag on it. I was butchering other people's deer in my garage,” Liberoni said.
Defense lawyer John Leonard said prosecutors were not able to establish a time line of when the deer were killed.
Under state law the more illegal big game animals that are poached, the more serious the crimes that can be charged. Singer said charges for multiple deer could be considered misdemeanor or felonies.
Prosecutors originally charged Liberoni with having three too many deer.
In court on Friday, Liberoni cut a deal with prosecutors. Assistant District Attorney Pete Flanigan reduced the charges.
Originally facing a misdemeanor offense for having too many deer, prosecutors allowed Liberoni to plead guilty to one summary offense, the equivalent of a traffic ticket.
Judge Rita Hathaway sentenced him to pay a $1,000 fine and ordered him to pay $1,800 to the Game Commission for the DNA tests.
Hathaway ordered that Liberoni's deer hunting privileges be suspended for three years.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Derry Township man killed in ATV crash
- Record-holding female motorcyclist to speak at Lincoln Highway event
- Renovations a go on historic La Rose building in downtown Greensburg
- Survey finds no clear fix to achieving racial diversity in Westmoreland County
- Prison becomes detox center for growing number of inmates with addictions
- Westmoreland County Animal Response Team seeks money for new space
- Westmoreland County Fair doubles as meet-and-greet for candidates
- Ligonier equine facility breaks ground
- Greensburg man charged with terroristic threats
- Megan’s List offender charged with assault on 10-year-old Latrobe girl
- Children honor late Ligonier Township officer at Westmoreland Fair