For Immediate Release
May 18, 2009
Newcomerstown Man Writes Apology to Ohio Sportsmen
CAMBRIDGE, OH – As part of a recent court sentencing for the crime of spotlighting deer from a motor vehicle, a Tuscarawas County man has composed an apology to Ohio’s sportsmen according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
Andrew T. Thompson, 22, of Newcomerstown stated in his letter that he “put many people’s lives at risk” on November 20, 2008 as he and two other adults engaged in spotlighting deer from his vehicle in Guernsey County. When wildlife officials initiated contact with Thompson, he attempted to flee the officers.
Thompson pled no contest and was found guilty of two felony counts including Attempted Fleeing and Eluding and Improper Handling Firearms in a Motor Vehicle. Thompson was also found guilty of spotlighting deer and possession of untagged deer parts.
In addition to the letter of apology, the Honorable Judge David A. Ellwood presiding over the Guernsey County Common Pleas Court sentenced Thompson to serve six months of a ten month prison sentence, three years revocation of both driver’s and hunting licenses, and three years of probation plus pay $500 in fines and court costs. Thompson’s vehicle and rifle were ordered forfeit.
The two other adults in the vehicle were also found guilty of wildlife related crimes. Jesse W. Thompson, Jr., 31, of West Lafayette was found guilty of spotlighting and improper transport of a firearm. Thompson Jr. will pay $500 in fines and court costs and his rifle was ordered forfeit. His hunting license was ordered suspended for three years.
Ernest W. Thompson, 36, of Newcomerstown was found guilty of spotlighting and hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle. Ernest will pay $500 in fines and court costs and his rifle was ordered forfeit. His hunting license was ordered suspended for three years.
Editor’s note: Full text of Thompson’s apology letter is below.
To Whom It May Concern:
On Thanksgiving Day three family members and I decided to go out to look for deer. At first no one would come out and say we were poaching but we all knew. I knew it was wrong but I agreed to go because I was with my family and felt safe, maybe even invincible.
Unfortunately I did not think it over well enough to realize what was at stake. I chose to act without thinking it through and put many people’s lives at risk including contributing to putting our very own wildlife in danger. Our state pays thousands and thousands of dollars to be sure the wildlife will be stable for many generations to come and by not obeying these laws you are hurting not only the animals but millions of people; now and in future generations.
Also, I chose to flee when approached causing even more danger to close residents, my family, and the DNR and other officers participating. I would like to state how greatly sorry I am for making these dangerous decisions and putting these people in danger. If I were able to take it back I would. I will now know to think things over well before acting. I am sorry to say that such things as jail are what it took for me to realize these things. I now must work hard to bring my life back together by trying to get my job back and trying to find a way to keep my home. In doing so I will now try to find ways to give back what I’ve taken from our wildlife.
I would also ask if the judge would find mandatory that in some way I try to work some- sort of program or community service so he can be sure justice is served and I am applying myself to give back what I have taken away.
Again I am sorry to the community, DNR, and wildlife in general for my actions. This will never happen again from me as it shouldn’t from anyone else. You will be caught and prosecuted even if you think you are invincible.