Bear baiters in court: Five Blount men seeking plea bargain in bear killing
By Iva Butler | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A preliminary hearing for five Blount County men charged with baiting and killing a black bear was reset to Nov. 1 by Blount County General Sessions Court Judge Michael A. Gallegos.
Christopher Lee Caughron, 23, Roy Avenue; Richard Lee Caughron, 45, Duke Road; Mike Houston Gregory, 74, Chilhowee View Road; Roger Dale Mason, 65, Montvale Road; and Roger Lynn Mason, 43, Kinzel Avenue, made their first court appearance on Friday.
Richard Caughorn, Gregory and the two Mason men have all retained the services of attorney Craig Garrett. Christopher Caughron is in the process of hiring an attorney.
Blount County Assistant District Attorney Sharo Taloe and Garrett said they are working on a plea bargain in the case that may be announced at that time. If not, court will proceed with a preliminary hearing.
The men were arrested by Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) officers the morning of Sept. 7 and were all charged with killing a black bear in closed season, aggravated criminal littering, conspiring to commit aggravated littering and using bait to hunt a bear.
Chris Caughron was also charged with illegal possession of a black bear, resisting arrest, refusing inspection and hunting with a revoked license.
Gregory was also charged with illegal use of a center fire rifle at night.
Roger L. Mason was also charged with illegal possession of a black bear.
The Caughrons and Masons charged are fathers and sons.
All five men are out on bonds ranging from $2,000 to $4,000.
The men were allegedly using chocolate candy to lure bears to an area in the Happy Valley part of Blount County, much of which is adjacent to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.