WICHITA, KANSAS (KTRE) - U.S. District Court in Kansas re-sentenced two Martinsville brothers on Lacey Act charges of conspiracy, wildlife trafficking, and obstruction of justice Monday. The charges were related to the sale of illegal deer hunts in southern Kansas.
According to a press release, James Bobby Butler, 44, was sentenced to 10 months in federal prison. He pleaded guilty in March 2011 to one count of conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, one Lacey Act interstate trafficking count, and one count of obstructing justice.
His brother, Marlin Jackson Butler, 39, was sentenced to 8 months in federal prison. He pleaded guilty in March 2011 to one count of conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, one Lacey Act Interstate trafficking count.
The Lacey Act is a federal law that makes it illegal to knowingly transport or sell in interstate commerce any wildlife taken or possessed in violation of state law or regulation.
The maximum penalty for a felony violation of the Lacey Act includes up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for the obstruction charges includes up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine.
"The Butlers ran a deer guiding operation near Coldwater, Kan. They sold guided deer hunts in Kansas to hunters from Texas and Louisiana, charging approximately $3,500 for archery hunts and $5,000 for rifle hunts," the press release stated. "During those hunts, the Butlers transported clients to areas owned or leased by James Butler, where hunters were encouraged to kill deer illegally, in many cases without a license or permit."
Federal authorities collected documents from local taxidermy places to support their claims.
The latest development in the case came after the brothers appealed their original sentences. Back in June 2011, James Butler was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison and Marlin Butler was sentenced to 27 months. The U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the sentences and remanded the cases for re-sentencing.
In June 2011, James Butler was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison and Marlin Butler was sentenced to 27 months. They appealed their sentences to the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, which vacated the sentences and remanded the cases for re-sentencing.
U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom commended the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Colin Black of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division, Environmental Crimes Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Treaster for their work on the case.
Marlin Butler has several convictions on record, including felony counts of criminal mischief and assault on a public servant. He was booked into the Nacogdoches County Jail in Jan. 2009 on a charge of sexual assault of a child.
According to the Nacogdoches County District Clerk's Office, Marlin Butler was indicted for sexual assault of a child for allegedly being involved in a threesome that included his ex-wife, Tammy Jean Butler, and a 15-year-old girl in 2008. Marlin Butler was also indicted for aggravated assault, and that charge, when stems from an unrelated 2009 incident, was originally aggravated sexual assault.
A spokeswoman for the Nacogdoches County District Clerk's Office said those charges were dismissed on Nov. 2, 2010 because he was in the process of being prosecuted on the federal charges.
In December 2009, Tammy Butler was sentenced to two years in prison after she pleaded guilty to two sexual assault of a minor. She also received 10 years probation for the second count and received credit for time served for the eight months of jail time she had already served.
During testimony during her jury sentencing, Tammy Butler testified that her relationship with the 15-year-old victim only happened because her ex-husband forced her to perform sex acts with the victim, according to a previous East Texas News story.
Tammy Butler told jurors that she never intended for the relationship to become physical until the 15-year-old girl became an adult. She also said they had talked about moving in together when that happened.
On the stand, Tammy Butler said the victim had sex with her and her husband as a way to protect Tammy Butler. Marlin Butler's ex-wife testified that he was abusive and forced her to perform sexual acts with other people.
"He would beat me in front of my children until I couldn't get up and move. Almost every day," Tammy Butler testified in court.
When asked why she didn't leave Tammy Butler said, "He told me, watch my back because he would kill me."
The teen testified she had sex with Tammy and Marlin because, "If he didn't get his way, he was going to make somebody pay for it."
"I didn't want anything bad to happen to her," the victim said.
During Tammy Butler's jury sentencing, her defense attorney, John Boundy, asked Marlin Butler about the threesome. However, acting on advice from his attorney, he pleaded the Fifth Amendment, his right to silence.