SOUTHERN UTAH — After striking a deal with prosecutors, the mayor of Hurricane City entered a guilty plea in a case involving deer poaching on the mayor’s property in Kane County on the opening day of the 2016 general rifle hunt.
Mayor John Wayne Bramall, 59, was initially charged with a third-degree felony count of attempted aiding or assisting in a wildlife violation and a class A misdemeanor count of aiding or assisting in a wildlife violation after he assisted two individuals in illegally killing two deer, including one that qualifies as a trophy deer, on Oct. 22, 2016.
In the plea deal with prosecutors, Bramall – whose term of office as the chief executive of Hurricane City runs from January 2014 through December 2018 – admitted that he assisted Gordon Wesley Marble, 58, and his son, John Wesley Marble, 39, in wanton destruction of protected wildlife.
As a result of the deal signed Wednesday, Bramall’s class A misdemeanor charge was dismissed and his felony charge was reduced to a misdemeanor.
For each count, Bramall was sentenced to serve one year in jail and pay a fine and surcharge of $4,783.
However, Kane County 6th District Judge Marvin Bagley suspended the jail time and all but $500 of Bramall’s fines so long as Bramall successfully completes the terms and conditions of his probation.
During his 18-month probation, Bramall must pay a restitution fee of $4,200 to the Help Stop Poaching Fund, as well as complete 50 hours of community service arranged through the Kane County Volunteer Center.
The Marbles also agreed to plea deals in the case. As such, Gordon Marble must pay $4,000 to the poaching fund and John Marble must pay $200 to the fund.
On Oct. 22, 2016, a Utah Division of Wildlife Resources investigator watched Bramall and the Marbles through a spotting scope as they were searching and hunting for deer on Bramall’s private “high fence elk hunting park” in Kane County, according to a probable cause statement filed in support of the charges.
Read more about Cooperative Wildlife Management Units: Hurricane City mayor booked in jail for wildlife violations
Although the Marbles’ hunting permits were issued for the Zion Unit, according to court documents, they ended up killing two deer on the Paunsaugunt Unit. Because Gordon Marble killed a buck with antlers that spanned 26.5 inches, it was large enough to be classified a trophy deer.
Despite having been provided a copy of the law and previously told by a DWR biologist that it’s illegal to kill mule deer within the high fence elk hunting park, Bramall assisted the Marbles in their hunting activities, according to the statement.
The Marbles were subsequently arrested and booked into the Kane County Jail Oct. 22, 2016, and released on bail the following day.
Bramall was voluntarily booked into the Kane County Jail Oct. 27, 2016, and released on bail the same day.
- Wildlife Resources Code of Utah 23-20-23
- Rule R657-37 – Cooperative Wildlife Management Units for Big Game or Turkey
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