No bail reduction for bear poaching suspect
November 17, 2013
One of two Nevada County men charged in a bear poaching case was in court Thursday, where his request to be released on his own recognizance or have his bail reduced was denied.
Jason Scott Wilkison, 43, of Grass Valley, and Christopher Art Nunley, 54, of North San Juan, have been charged with misdemeanor counts of unlawful possession of a bear and unlawfully killing a bear, as well as felony charges involving the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.
The female bear reportedly was killed in April and had been shot after being lured with bait to a residence located near Grizzly Flat. The two men reportedly tried to butcher the bear and skin it and then tried to get rid of it.
The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office assisted 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 remains were allegedly located at Nunley’s residence.
Nunley has been arraigned and is set to return to court Dec. 5; he is out of custody on his own recognizance.
An arrest warrant was issued for Wilkison, who turned himself in at the county jail and was arraigned Tuesday.
On Thursday, Wilkison appeared with his attorney, Greg Klein, who argued for an OR release or for bail reduction.
Klein argued that Wilkison allegedly used a firearm to kill the bear because it was bothering him on his property and that he was not a flight risk. Klein noted that Wilkison’s bail had been enhanced with a prior strike conviction that dated back to 1988.
Deputy District Attorney Jim Phillips disputed the characterization of the bear’s shooting as self-defense and said that Wilkison had a multistate rap sheet that included a gun charge in 2007.
Nevada County Superior Court Judge Linda Sloven denied Klein’s request, noting the bail schedule for the charge and the enhancement should remain at $75,000. Wilkison will return to court on Nov, 21 to enter a plea.
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.