BROOKVILLE — On May 6, Alex Smith entered a negotiated plea of guilty to cruelty to animals, a second-degree misdemeanor under Pennsylvania law and multiple Game Code violations stemming from a video he posted on social media of he and a juvenile co-defendant abusing an injured whitetail deer.
Smith received a sentence of 2 years probation and fines totaling $2,150. As part of the agreement, Smith’s hunting privileges have been revoked for a period of 15 years.
Smith had been facing several felony charges in connection with the case but those charges were nolle prossed, which means that the prosecution decided to drop the charges. The declaration often means the charges cannot be proven, or that evidence has demonstrated a fatal flaw in the prosecution’s claim.
In a statement, Jefferson County District Attorney Jeff Burkett said, “There was certainly a huge outcry from certain segments of the public on this case. This was because it was captured on video and everyone could see the crimes being committed. Certainly, these videos were repulsive and no decent person could ever condone what was depicted in them.
“Notwithstanding the public outcry, we are bound by law, facts and the sentencing guidelines. After numerous consultations with the officers from the Pennsylvania Game Commission, county detectives, and other law enforcement officers and the Western District United States Attorney’s Office, we were convinced that the misdemeanor cruelty to animals charge was the one that fit the facts of the case. The sentencing guidelines for that charge call for a probationary sentence. Also, we obtained an extensive revocation of Smith’s hunting privileges until well into his 30’s.”
“I want to thank the officers of the Pennsylvania Game Commission who worked very hard on this case and were an invaluable source of counsel and wisdom in bringing this matter to a successful resolution,” Burkett said.
The juvenile’s case is going through juvenile court and no details are available at this time.