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Sheriff’s detective said lying about hunting tag was mistake, records say

Spokane County sheriff’s Detective David Herrin repeatedly told Fish and Wildlife officers that his daughter shot a deer in Stevens County in 2013 before finally saying he was ready to “fall on his sword” to keep her out of trouble, court records say.

Now accused of poaching and lying to investigators, Herrin was placed on paid administrative leave last week by Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich while an internal investigation is conducted.

The veteran detective told investigators that his friend Gordon Mann, who owns the property where he was hunting, had actually shot the deer and offered to let him take the deer for his daughter, court records say. Herrin said he made a “dumb mistake” by putting his daughter’s tag on the animal.

Mann is also facing a charge of unlawful hunting of big game.

Herrin’s daughter initially corroborated her father’s story before admitting that she had not gone hunting in 2013. She told investigators that her father told her the details of the hunt so she could pretend that she had shot the buck, court documents say. Herrin allegedly also filled out an online harvest report in his daughter’s name.

Fish and Wildlife officers became aware of the violation after being told by Herrin’s ex-wife that Herrin had been using deer tags belonging to their son and daughter, and she was concerned that her children might get in trouble.

When Herrin’s ex-wife met with the Fish and Wildlife officer she was accompanied by Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Dave Martin, whom she identified as Herrin’s supervisor, according to court documents. Martin reportedly told the Fish and Wildlife officer that Herrin could lose his job over the violations.

Knezovich said Martin was not Herrin’s supervisor.

“That’s not true,” the sheriff said. “I think I’ll be looking into that.”

Martin and Herrin were once friends, according to divorce records. However, Herrin filed for his divorce after, he said, it became clear that his wife and Martin were romantically involved.

Herrin’s son told Fish and Wildlife investigators that neither he nor his sister made it to the hunting camp in Stevens County in 2012. And yet deer tag records show that a whitetail doe was shot using his tag on Oct. 21, 2012, a few days after Herrin shot two other deer in the same location. The son also told investigators that Herrin would routinely have him and his sister fill out transport letters for their deer ahead of time. Letters are required if someone other than the person to whom the tag is registered hauls the deer home.

A witness to the 2013 hunt told investigators that the children were not along on the trip and that he didn’t know whose tag was on the deer.

Herrin faces charges of unlawful hunting of big game and making a false or misleading statement to a public servant.