UPDATED with info at end about other hunting tags.
HUNTING -- The trial involving the December 2015 shooting of a trophy bull elk known in the Ellensburg area as 'Bullwinkle' has been postponed again.
Kittitas County District Court Judge Jim Hurson decided at a pre-trial hearing on Nov. 3 to join the trials of Salkum man Tod Reichert charged with second-degree unlawful hunting of big game, and Ellensburng-area resident David Perkins, charged with second-degree aiding and abetting to unlawful hunting, according to the Daily Record of Ellensburg.
Reichert, 76, has pleaded not guilty to accusations of shooting the well-known local elk in an area closed to hunting branch-antler elk. Bullwinkle frequented pastures in the area and was known to pose for photos.
The bull reportedly was killed in a closed area and then transported in a vehicle to an open area before it was field dressed.
The joinder was an original motion filed by Reichert’s Spokane-based attorney, Stephen Hormel, and was opposed by the state prosecuting attorney Mark Sprague. Perkins’ Yakima-based attorney Ken Therrien said he was in disagreement with a joinder.
Hormel did not respond to an email query about the case from The Spokesman-Review.
Perkins was Reichert’s companion hunter and key witness. Reichert is considered a disabled hunter and is allowed to have a companion hunter, the Daily Record reports.
“It’s the same facts, it’s the same scenario, it’s so intertwined,” Hurson said. “I just don’t see where Reichert can proceed without Perkins’ part of the story.”
Hurson said the joinder makes the most sense and is the most efficient way of conducting a trial.
A motion filed by Hormel to change the venue of the trial to counteract negative publicity about Reichert’s trial was denied by Hurson.
A request by the now-joined defense for personnel files of Department of Fish and Wildlife police officers, Sgt. Morgan Grant and Officer Corey Peterson is in process. In a previous hearing, Hormel suggested that grant had suggeted to Reichert that he could hunt in the closed area.
The personnel files would be reviewed by Hurson only, but he has requested a list of what he should be looking for that could determine a lack of credibility on either Grant or Peterson’s part. That list has not yet been submitted, the Daily Record reported.
The trial has been pushed back to Feb. 10 at 9 a.m., with a pre-trial hearing on Jan. 12 at 1:30 p.m.
Reichert, well-known in trophy hunting circles, bid $75,000 for the 2016 Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s special East Side elk auction tag. A hunting ban imposed on Reichert by Hurson was lifted at a July 27 pre-trial hearing enabling him to hunt in the 2016 season.
According to state rules, a conviction in the Bullwinkle case would have prohibited Reichert from hunting in Washington and other states for two years.
Although unconfirmed, sources say Reichert killed a bull elk in Washington this season to fill the East Side tag. Sources also say Reichert killed an elk this season to fill the Pennsylvania auction tag for which he bid $85,000.