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Fayette pair's hunting licenses suspended

| Thursday, April 14, 2011

Two Fayette County men accused of poaching two deer for a Super Bowl XLV party had their hunting licenses temporarily suspended and will pay $6,000 in fines.

Christopher Scott Layman, 21, of 123 Bethelboro Road, Uniontown, and James Richard Donaldson, 35, of 725 Penn Ave., Lemont Furnace, were charged last month with two counts each of unlawful killing or taking of big game in connection with the shootings of two whitetail deer on the day before the Super Bowl.

Jason D. Farabaugh, a wildlife conservation officer who conducted the investigation into the out-of-season killings, said the offenses were reduced from misdemeanors to less serious summary offenses.

The charges were reduced as part of a plea deal negotiated on Wednesday at the office of North Union District Judge Wendy Dennis.

"They made a mistake," Farabaugh said. "They weren't bad guys by any means, but they knew they did wrong."

According to criminal complaints, Layman told Farabaugh that he, Donaldson and a male juvenile decided to shoot the deer on Feb. 5 for a Super Bowl party.

One deer was shot along Elliottsville Road in North Union and the other near a quarry on Jumonville-Coolspring Road, according to the complaints. The deer were butchered in a garage in Lemont Furnace.

Farabaugh investigated after receiving a tip, according to the complaints.

Terms of the plea agreement call for Layman and Donaldson to pay fines of $3,000 each, for a total of $6,000. Farabaugh said Donaldson's hunting license was suspended for five years. Layman's was suspended for eight years.

Charges against the unidentified juvenile are pending in juvenile court, Farabaugh said.

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