Thursday, April 17, 2014
BY BETTY ADAMS Staff Writer
AUGUSTA -- Fifteen of the 57 hunting violations against a Mount Vernon man have been condensed by the district attorney's office into a single felony charge.
Joseph A. Deleskey, 39, of 466 Bean Road, also faces 42 misdemeanor charges. He is among several relatives and friends charged with hunting law violations after an 18-month investigation by the Maine Warden Service, which alleges that Deleskey was involved in illegally killing or wounding more than a dozen deer.
A dismissal document filed recently in superior court by Assistant District Attorney Steven Parker says the 15 counts were merged with the first count of the indictment, which charges Deleskey with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person on Nov. 1, 2010.
They all say Deleskey was prohibited from having a firearm because he was convicted of assault with a dangerous weapon on Feb. 3, 2000, in Salem District Court in Massachusetts. Charges against him were announced in August.
Acting District Attorney Alan Kelley said Thursday an assistant district attorney reviewing the case concluded that one felony charge was sufficient and an amended count was filed with the court charging Deleskey with being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm on a number of occasions between Oct. 14, 2010, and Dec. 4, 2011.
"It was a continuing offense over time," Kelley said.
Walter McKee, Deleskey's attorney, said his client couldn't be charged 15 times "out of possession of one gun, even if it's on different dates."
McKee filed a written motion on Sept. 6 saying all but one of the counts should be dismissed.
"This is especially so in light of the fact that the affidavit submitted by Officer (Jason) Luce, of the Maine Warden Service, only indicates that he observed a single firearm in the possession of defendant, namely a 12-gauge shotgun," he wrote.
McKee said he expected the remaining charges to be on the February trial list. Deleskey has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Charges also remain pending against several others:
Richard A. Deleskey, 62 of Danvers, Mass., Joseph Deleskey's father, pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for a court hearing Feb. 5 in Franklin County Superior Court in Farmington. He is charged with using artificial light to illuminate wild animals Sept. 5, 2010. He is charged with six counts of night hunting and three counts of loaded firearm or crossbow in a motor vehicle; and one count each of night hunting with night vision equipment, and shooting from a motor vehicle or motorboat, all in November 2010; and two counts of driving deer and one of criminal trespass in December 2011.
Richard M. Deleskey, 41, also of Danvers, Mass., also pleaded not guilty. He is charged with two counts of illegal possession of a firearm, both felony charges, and one count each of nonresident big game hunting without a license and night hunting, all Nov. 4, 2010. He, too, is scheduled for a court hearing Feb. 5 in superior court in Farmington.
Clayton C. Hall, 48, of Vienna, is charged with four counts of illegal driving deer, two counts of hunting deer after having killed one and one count each of possession of unregistered deer, loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, criminal trespass, and terrorizing, all between November 2010 and December 2011. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in July and is scheduled for a court hearing on Feb. 5 in Kennebec County Superior Court.
Four other people charged in connection with the same investigation by the Maine Warden Service have been convicted and sentenced on various charges over the past few months:
* Valter Almeida, 36, of Peabody, Mass., two counts each of night hunting and criminal trespass and one count of driving deer; three-day jail sentence, $3,400 in fines.
* Douglas Stevens III, 41, of Mount Vernon, two counts of driving deer and one of criminal trespass; $900 in fines.
* Robert Rooney, 48, of Vassalboro, one count of driving deer; $200 fine.
* Bonnie L. Currier, 39, of Vienna, four counts of driving deer and one count of criminal trespass; $1,000 in fines.
Betty Adams -- 621-5631