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June 13, 2014
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San Juan Ridge man makes plea for bear skinned at Grizzly Flat

A San Juan Ridge resident pleaded no contest to being a felon in possession of a firearm in Nevada County Superior Court Monday, in return for a possible sentence of 120 days in jail.

Christopher Art Nunley, 54, had been charged in two separate cases, one involving a poached bear and the other involving the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.

The female bear reportedly was killed in April 2013 at a residence located near Grizzly Flat.

Nunley and codefendant Jason Scott Wilkison, 43, of Grass Valley, reportedly tried to butcher the bear and skin it and then tried to get rid of it.

The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office assisted California Fish and Wildlife wardens in serving a series of search warrants that led to the discovery of bear remains, allegedly found in a shallow grave near Wilkison’s residence.

Additional bear hair allegedly was located at Nunley’s residence.

Wildlife officers launched the investigation after receiving reports that the bear had been unlawfully shot after being lured with bait; the bear was eventually positively identified through DNA.

During the investigation, Nevada County sheriff’s served a search warrant at Nunley’s residence, reportedly finding guns, ammo, and a battle mace.

In that case, he was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of the mace.

On Monday, Nunley took a plea agreement in return for probation and the four-month jail term, said Nevada County Deputy District Attorney Jim Phillips.

He is set for sentencing July 11.

The charges Nunley still faces for the poaching case — misdemeanor unlawful possession of a creature — likely will be dismissed at sentencing, Phillips said.

Wilkison had been charged with unlawful taking and possession of the bear, as well as weapons charges, and eventually pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm in return for a stipulated sentence of two years in state prison.

To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email or call 530-477-4229.

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The Union Updated Jun 13, 2014 10:20AM Published Jun 17, 2014 03:46PM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.