The case of three Georgia men involved in beating a deer inside a car in January was settled Thursday in Stuttgart District Court, where all three were fined for their actions.
Joshua Rewis, 20, of Villa Rica, Ga.; Cody Jones, 25, of Carrollton, Ga.; and Travis Strickland, 25, of Winston, Ga., were arrested after an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission investigation into a video that showed a deer being beaten in the head with a heavy textbook in the back seat of a compact car as the vehicle traveled on U.S. 165 near Stuttgart.
The Jan. 26 incident drew national attention after the video appeared on social media networks Snapchat and Facebook and eventually came to the attention of the Game and Fish Commission.
The three men were passengers in a yellow Ford Escort when it struck the deer, and the men loaded the stunned and injured animal into the car, according to game and fish officials.
The deer revived in the car, and the video shows one of the men repeatedly striking the animal on the head with the textbook. The car pulled over eventually, and the men dragged the deer into a ditch along the highway and left it, game and fish officials said.
Officials identified Rewis as the man who hit the deer with the textbook. He pleaded guilty to cruelty to animals and with wasting wildlife.
Stuttgart District Judge Jeremy Bueker ordered Rewis to pay $1,000, which included $140 in court costs, on the cruelty charge. For wasting wildlife, Rewis received a $1,250 fine and was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation within 90 days.
Rewis also was sentenced to 60 days in jail with 60 days suspended, provided that he incurs no criminal violations over the next year.
Jones and Strickland were each charged with aiding and abetting.
Rewis and Strickland returned to Arkansas for disposition of their cases. Jones did not appear and instead chose to forfeit his $370 fine. Strickland's charge was amended to a civil penalty, and he was ordered to pay a $370 fine.
A fourth person involved in the incident -- driver Johnna Sigler, 19, of Stuttgart -- was issued a warning citation and was never charged.
"Under the circumstances, it's probably the best disposition for us," said Keith Stephens, spokesman for the Game and Fish Commission. "That's not Arkansas values, especially for the hunting public, to do something like that.
"Maybe they'll think about it before they do something like this again."
State Desk on 04/30/2016