Herrera Found Guilty of Killing Elk Out of Season

After nearly an hour and a half of deliberation, a six-person jury Friday found Clayvin Herrera guilty on charges of knowingly taking an antlered animal out of season in Wyoming and being an accessory after the fact.

Sheridan County Circuit Court Judge Shelley Cundiff sentenced the Crow tribal member to a year in jail on each count, with jail time suspended in lieu of one year of unsupervised probation on each count. The sentences will run concurrently. Clayvin was also fined $5,000 on each count, with $2,000 suspended on the accessory charge.

The case went to the jury shortly before 10:30 a.m. Friday. In closing arguments Friday morning, Deputy Sheridan County Attorney Christopher LaRosa said Herrera's belief that he was on the Crow Reservation when he shot the elk on Jan. 18, 2014, wasn't a defense. LaRosa said a booklet published by Wyoming Game and Fish at that time stated it's the hunter's responsibility to know where he, or she, is. LaRosa told jurors the evidence and the law required a guilty verdict.

Herrera's attorney, Kyle Gray of Billings, argued that Herrera, who took the witness stand Thursday, testified the elk weren't in Wyoming at the time of the shooting. She said there was a, quote, “reasonable doubt” about the animals being in Wyoming and it was the duty of the jury to give the benefit of doubt to the defendant.

Herrera testified on Thursday that he had not intended to enter Wyoming when he and two companions set out on their hunt. The judge didn't allow Herrera's attorney to enter testimony regarding an 1868 treaty right or a controversy over the rightful placement of the border between Wyoming and the Crow Reservation in Montana.