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Two Florida Men Convicted of Hunting Violations

Natural Resources Police 150th Anniversary LogoTwo Florida men were convicted Wednesday of multiple counts of illegal deer hunting and were ordered to pay $6,000 in fines and restitution by a Cecil County District Court judge.

Lawrence Eugene Tatum II, 34, of Port Saint Lucie, received $2,000 in fines for four natural resources violations and a suspended $500 fine for trespassing. He was ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution to the state and perform 80 hours of community service. He also lost his Maryland hunting privileges for a year.

Chett Wade Cockrill, 46, of Boca Raton, was fined $2,000 for four natural resources violations and received a $500 suspended fine for trespassing. He had his Maryland hunting privileges suspended for a year and forfeited two rifles, a scope, a gun case and ammunition.

Photo of a buck

Maryland Natural Resources Police officers were called to White Hall Farm in Cecilton in the early hours of Nov. 21 for a report of illegal hunters. On a gravel road, they found a rented SUV parked on land marked with “No Trespassing” signs.

Tatum was by the SUV and Cockrill was found in the woods, with a loaded Mossberg 0.308-caliber rifle with no scope by his side. An officer later recovered a night-vision scope concealed nearby under some downed trees.

Cockrill and Tatum told officers they had been driving around in the rented vehicle, looking for hay to buy and coyotes to kill. The SUV contained night vision goggles, a thermal imaging device, multiple pairs of binoculars and several flashlights.

The men admitted to shooting an eight-point buck from the vehicle while somewhere between Chestertown, where they rented the SUV, and the farm. Officers found the deer carcass and head in a barn.

Cockrill and Tatum each were charged with hunting without a license, hunting on private land without written permission, hunting deer at night and hunting deer in a closed season.

Restitution to the state is mandated by a 2016 act of the General Assembly.

Photo of Tyler James MurphyA habitual deer poacher who was facing maximum penalties of $26,800 in fines and nine years in prison was sentenced Tuesday in Frederick County District Court to probation before judgment.

Tyler James Murphy, 22, of Frederick was charged in October with hunting on a suspended license, five counts of abetting a juvenile hunter and contributing to the delinquency of a minor who was in violation of the law, driving on a suspended license and failing to wear fluorescent orange. He was charged as a subsequent offender.

Judge Earl W. Bartgis Jr. granted probation before judgment for all the charges except failing to wear fluorescent orange. The judge extended Murphy’s unsupervised probation three years and suspended Murphy’s hunting privileges through April 2024. In addition, the judge ordered the defendant to perform 50 hours of community service and pay court costs of $57.50. This was the third time Murphy appeared before Judge Bartis.

The juvenile was charged through the Department of Juvenile Services with hunting without a license, being under 18 and hunting without a state Hunter Safety Certificate, failing to obtain a bow stamp, hunting on private land without written permission and failing to wear fluorescent orange. Juvenile Services declined to pursue court action, issued a reprimand and warned against further delinquent activities.

On Oct. 25, an officer found Murphy and the juvenile hunting on a farm off Ijamsville Road in Ijamsville. Neither of them was wearing the required fluorescent orange. Murphy told the officer that he was assisting the 15 year old and not hunting himself.

The officer knew that Murphy was in violation of probation following his conviction in April 2017 on eight counts of deer poaching and making false statements. At that time, Murphy was sentenced to one year in jail and fined $1,000, both suspended. He forfeited a 10-point rack, had his hunting privileges suspended until April 2019 and was placed on two years of unsupervised probation. Judge Bartgis warned Murphy that if he violated his probation, he would receive the full fine and jail time for this case.

Murphy’s first brush with Natural Resources Police was in January 2016, when he was charged with eight turkey and deer hunting violations and paid nearly $2,300 in fines. In addition, an eight-point whitetail deer mount and a seven- point white-tailed deer were seized and forfeited as a result of that investigation.

A Garrett County felon who is prohibited from having a firearm because of drug convictions was criminally charged Thursday after officers found him hunting.

Christopher Allen Care, 30, of Oakland, is scheduled to appear in Garrett County District Court March 14 on three counts of possessing a firearm and one count of possessing ammunition.

Officers on surveillance Dec. 4 arrested Care after they saw him with hunting deer with a rifle on private property off Dobbin Road in Kempton.

In addition to the firearms-related charges, Care was charged with failing to wear the required fluorescent orange, a natural resources violation that carries a maximum fine of $1,500.