Herrera Trial: Game Warden Takes Stand for Three Hours

A Wyoming game warden spent more than three hours on the witness stand in the trial Wednesday of Crow tribal member Clayvin Herrera who claims he believed he was on the Crow Reservation when he and two other men killed three elk in January 2014.

Warden Dustin Shorma of Dayton described how he used contacts and Facebook, and worked with a Casper investigator, to connect Herrera to the elk killing. He cited Herrera for accessory after the fact and knowingly taking a big trophy or antlered game animal.

Herrera's attorney, Kyle Gray of Billings, in remarks to the judge earlier Wednesday questioned whether the elk were in fact killed in Wyoming or on the Crow Reservation. Herrera has cited an 1868 treaty as granting Crow tribal members the right to kill elk at any time on the Crow Reservation. She asked that she be allowed to include a surveyor among the witnesses for the defense, a request that the judge denied before recessing court shortly before 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Much of Shorma's testimony also focused on where the elk were killed, which he indicated were on the Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming south of the Montana/Wyoming state line. Shorma also said Herrera is a game warden with the Crow tribe and originally contacted Wyoming Game & Fish with an offer to help Wyoming authorities with a poaching problem. Herrera's brother, Colton, pleaded guilty in March 2015 to two charges of accessory in the case. Another man who was with them also pleaded not guilty and invoked his rights under the 1868 treaty.

Clayvin Herrera's trial continues at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.