BROOKVILLE — Charges were filed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission Friday related to the social media video of two Brookville teenagers allegedly abusing a deer while out hunting on Nov. 30.
The Game Commission filed charges against Alexander Brock Smith, 18, of Brookville, including four felony charges of two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals – torture, two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals – causing serious bodily injury or death, three misdemeanor charges of corruption of minors, cruelty to animals, and tampering with / fabricating physical evidence, and four summary charges of drive or disturb game, taking/possession of game or wildlife, use of device/method prohibited by chapter, and violating rules and regulations of game commission.
The Game Commission also filed charges against a 17-year-old juvenile, of Brookville, in the juvenile court including four felony charges of two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, two counts of aggravated cruelty to animals (conspiracy), two misdemeanor charges of cruelty to animals, and tampering with / fabricating physical evidence, and four summary charges of drive or disturb game, taking/possession of game or wildlife, use of device/method prohibited by chapter, and violating rules and regulations of game commission.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, Pennsylvania State Game Warden Special Investigator Lawrence Hergenroeder was emailed information received by the Game Commission regarding the social media video of two individuals assaulting a live, wounded deer. Shortly after, another State Game Warden sent the video to Hergenroeder, in which both of the individuals had been named on social media.
On Dec. 3 an interview was conducted with the known juvenile and his attorney. The juvenile said he and Alex Smith were hunting in an enclosed tree stand on Nov. 30 on the Smith property in Summerville. The juvenile said at about noon he shot the deer shown in the video with a Savage Bushmaster .450 caliber rifle, wounding it.
The juvenile said as they approached the deer, he shot a second time from about 10 yards away and missed. He said he did not have any other live ammunition with him to kill the deer, so he and Smith began to repeatedly kick and stomp it.
The video shows the deer temporarily paralyzed from the gunshot wound as it struggles to move with each kick from the two. The juvenile also said he did not have a knife with him, but had one in his car about 260 yards away. According to the affidavit, Smith can be heard instructing the juvenile to grab the deer’s antlers in the video. Eventually, the deer got up and ran after their attempts to kill it failed, according to the juvenile. It’s right antler fell off during the abuse, and the juvenile told police he had it in his vehicle at his home.
The juvenile went to wrestling practice later that day, and was allegedly contacted by Smith about the video on social media, and told to delete the videos. The juvenile provided his phone to the police as evidence.
On Dec. 4 a concerned citizen contacted Hergenroeder about someone who had the original Snapchat video. This cell phone was also acquired with a search warrant and entered into evidence. The video was successfully extracted at the Pennsylvania State Police Computer Crime Unit in Meadville.
On Dec. 16 Smith was interviewed with his attorney by Hergenroeder. He confirmed the time and location of the incident. He said he did not have a gun with him. Smith said the right antler was already broken when they approached the deer, but it was allegedly pulled off by the known juvenile while kicking the animal’s head. Smith also said he stood on the deer’s neck to crush it’s windpipe, and kicked it in the throat three times. Smith confirmed the deer ran away after the assault.
Smith said the two went back to the tree stand and gathered their gear to move to a new location. Smith said the known juvenile gathered additional ammunition from either his backpack or his vehicle that was parked on the property.
Smith was arraigned Friday before Magisterial Judge Gregory Bazylak, and released on $50,000 unsecured bail. He also waived his right to a preliminary hearing, and will be moving to the Court of Common Pleas. The paperwork for the juvenile’s charges was also filed Friday and began the process in juvenile court.