City officer facing 41-count indictment associated with illegal hunting of deer and turkey

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City officer facing 41-count indictment associated with illegal hunting of deer and turkey

STEUBENVILLE — Seven people, including City Police Patrolman Nathan L. Cline, were indicted Friday during a special session of the Jefferson County grand jury on felony and misdemeanor charges associated with illegal hunting of deer and turkey.

Cline, 39, of Steubenville has been placed on administrative leave from the police department without pay, City Manager James Mavromatis said Monday.

The 41-count indictment against Cline includes 15 felonies. He faces a lengthy prison sentence if convicted as charged. One of the counts alleges Cline improperly used the Law Enforcement Automated Database system, which includes driving and criminal history information about people

“We knew of the investigation, but didn’t know the seriousness of it. He is innocent until proven guilty or pleads guilty. This now frees us up to do an internal affairs investigation,” Mavromatis said.

Lawyers with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office were appointed special prosecutors in the case because Cline has interaction with the county prosecutor’s office as a member of local law enforcement, according to a common pleas court journal entry. Wildlife officers with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources participated in the investigation.

The others indicted included Waylon Deatrick, 36, of Ickesburg, Pa.; Richard Harr, 39, of McKeesport, Pa.; Ronnie Griffith, 73, of Gary, Texas; Joshua J. McLaren, 38, of 1319 Linden Ave., Toronto; Robert L. Gilbert, 38, of New Freeport, Pa.; and Marlon Hale, 39, of 282 Saline St., Irondale.

Cline, Gilbert and Hale each face a charge of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a felony of the second degree, which brings a prison sentence of two to eight years.

The indictments state the three men participated in corrupt activity by engaging in hunting without permission, illegal theft of antlered deer, illegal possession of deer and turkey parts and profiting from the illicit scheme. The indictment states the three profited from the illicit scheme by photographing, videotaping, filming, editing and scouting for the illegal harvest of bucks and receiving money for videotaped productions.

Cline is charged with the following misdemeanor counts: Six counts hunting without permission; 10 counts of illegal possession of deer parts; four counts illegal possession of turkey parts; and six counts of petit theft. He faces the following felonies, in addition to engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and the violation of L.E.A.D.S. laws: One count of grand theft; four counts of theft; four counts of possession of criminal tools; one count of falsification in a theft offense; and three counts of complicity to theft.

Gilbert is charged with the following misdemeanor counts: Six counts of hunting without permission; three counts of petit theft; one count of hunting with the use of a motor vehicle; three counts of failure to tag wild turkey or deer; and one count of illegally leaving the state with an untagged deer. He faces the following felonies, in addition to engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity: Two counts of theft; and one count of possession of criminal tools.

Hale is charged with the following misdemeanor counts: Nine counts of hunting without permission; one count of hunting with the use of a motor vehicle; one count of complicity to shooting from a public road or highway; one count of complicity to taking a wild hen turkey out of season; two counts of hunting without a hunting license; one count of complicity to illegal possession of wild turkey or turkey parts; and one count complicity to petit theft. He faces the following felonies, in addition to engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity: One count of grand theft; two counts complicity to theft; one count possessing criminal tools; and one count telecommunications fraud.

Griffith faces misdemeanor charges of hunting without permission, petit theft, hunting with the use of a motor vehicle, shooting from a public road or highway, taking a wild hen turkey out of season and failure to tag or game check wild turkey.

Harr was charged with misdemeanor counts of hunting without permission and petit theft.

Deatrick was charged with misdemeanor counts of hunting without permission, petit theft and criminal trespass.

McLaren was charged with misdemeanor counts of hunting without permission and petit theft.

The indictments stated hunting occurred on properties throughout Jefferson County without the permission of the property owner. Those properties included Teramana Limited on township Road 174, Steubenville, and county Road 65, Steubenville; Ohio Department of Transportation, near U.S. Route 22 and John Scott Highway; Mary Schiappa Trust on state Route 43, Island Creek Township; and other properties in Island Creek, Brush Creek and Salem townships and Hammondsville.

The indictment against Cline also states Cline had hunted deer in the Labelle neighborhood of the city.

Cline’s indictment states Cline told an ODNR wildlife officer that he had permission to hunt on the Teramana property, resulting in the falsification charge.

Cline’s indictment also stated Cline on June 29 of last year gave information he obtained through L.E.A.D.S. to Hale. Law enforcement is prohibited about using L.E.A.D.S. for personal use. It is felony of the fifth degree, punishable by a year in prison.

Originally posted at the Herald Star by MARK LAW, Staff writer on March 13, 2018.

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