SHERIDAN — Gregg Lambdin was remanded into the custody of the Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office after being sentenced to nine months incarceration in the Sheridan County Detention Center for 11 counts of wanton destruction of a big game animal in 4th Judicial District Court Thursday.
A plea agreement requires Lambdin to complete one year of supervised probation upon his release.
Defense attorney Jeremy Kisling presented a check on Lambdin’s behalf, which was to be deposited following the sentencing hearing. The check was written to the full amount of $254,000 in restitution and fines for Lambdin’s offenses.
Lambdin said in a statement to the court that he wanted to express remorse for his unfortunate actions and has suffered emotionally for harm done to the Sheridan community over the 11 months since the case became public.
Lambdin said he has spent his life attempting to contain “internal turmoil” that is a result of emotional, sexual and physical abuse he experienced during his childhood and adolescence.
While not attempting to excuse the behavior that led to a criminal case, years of being punished for his identity led him to difficulties in his life and introverted behavior, he said.
Lambdin said he voluntarily obtained counseling when the case became public and has since worked to end a cycle of emotional turmoil. He apologized to the Sheridan community and said he regrets the impact of his actions.
Dustin Shorma, district game warden for Dayton with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, testified to the facts of the case in court to exhibit the degree of harm and the merits of the plea agreement associated with the case, Sheridan County Deputy Prosecuting attorney Christopher LaRosa said.
More than 100 deer carcasses were found on Lambdin’s property in November 2018, 36 of which showed evidence of being shot. Seven bullets were recovered from six deer carcasses, Shorma said.
The terms of restitution were calculated based on the 36 deer; $4,000 per animal. Lambdin was also required to pay $110,000 in fines in addition to comparatively small court fees.
Charges were filed against Lambdin in February 2019 after a two-month investigation led to a search of his property.
The investigation followed reports from Lambdin’s neighbors that potentially illegal activity was taking place on Lambdin’s property and that they had witnessed him killing a deer.
The search revealed one antelope and 113 white-tailed deer carcasses in various stages of decomposition. Shorma said analysis of the deer carcasses showed they were shot at different times of the year and included fawns, does and bucks.
Lambdin told the WGFD in interviews that he purchased the property to find peace and isolation; Lambdin said the deer breached that personal space, Shorma said.
LaRosa said the facts of the case showed, “if you got close to his house, you got shot,” and the plea agreement was fair and just.
LaRosa said the restitution amount is large but represented a “discount” from the cost that could have been applied to the case. Jail time was a critical part of the agreement, LaRosa said.
He wanted to show the Sheridan County community that financial resources didn’t preclude someone from serving time for criminal activity, he said. This was the largest animal wasting case in modern U.S. history, LaRosa said.
“We do not keep records for penalties in poaching cases, but I cannot remember a case brought against a defendant that resulted in fines, restitution and jail time of this magnitude,” WGFD Sheridan regional wildlife supervisor Craig Smith said in a press release. “It is likely the largest poaching case in Wyoming history in terms of penalties against a single individual.”
Kisling said it is important to remember that Lambdin isn’t only a news headline but a person who repeatedly made mistakes and now recognizes his wrongdoings. Lambdin has acknowledge the harm caused by his actions and has followed through with counseling, he said.
Lambdin recognized he couldn’t “buy his way out” of the charges and has shown great remorse for his activities, Kisling said.
Judge William Edelman said there was no reason to revoke Lambdin’s hunting privileges as his actions weren’t done in the spirit of hunting, nor will he be allowed to possess a firearm as a convicted felon.
As required by state statute, fines imposed in wildlife poaching cases are distributed to a county public school fund, according to the WGFD.
The $144,000 in restitution will be placed into a fund used by the Game and Fish commission for purchasing access easements to provide access to public and private lands, the WGFD said in the release.