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Posted November 13, 2012 | comments 27 Comments

Warren County: Two former deputies charged

Pair accused of unlawful hunting among three who resigned last week

By Joe Beck

Two of the three Warren County deputies who resigned last week while under investigation for alleged hunting violations have been charged in Warren County General District Court.

Former deputies Bradley Pugh and Michael A. Robinson were charged Tuesday with unlawful hunting. Pugh was also charged with hunting, trapping or fishing without a license and leaving wanton waste.

The charges, all misdemeanors that carry fines but no jail time, were filed by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries as a result of an investigation conducted last week.

Capt. K.C. Clarke said Tuesday his agency filed no charges against a third former deputy, Eric Ramey.

"Our investigation showed there was no involvement on his part that would warrant a charge being placed against him," Clarke said.

Clarke said leaving wanton waste usually involves someone killing a deer and then failing to dispose of the carcass properly "so far as not making use of the meat."

Pugh and Robison are scheduled to appear in general district court at 10 a.m. Dec. 4. Both were released upon receiving their court summons, according to online state court records.

Clarke confirmed earlier statements from Front Royal Police Chief Norman Shiflett and Warren County Sheriff Daniel T. McEathron that his agency was called in to investigate on Nov. 3, the same date of the alleged offenses.

"We were notified by an officer with the Front Royal Police Department," Clarke said.

McEathron said earlier that the three voluntarily resigned from the Sheriff's Office on Nov. 5, two days after the alleged violations were reported.

Shiflett said Front Royal Police Capt. R. Clint Keller called investigators after discovering the three may have been hunting illegally near his home within the town limits.

Sportsmen need to obtain permission from the state to hunt within the town limits under a deer management plan adopted by the town and the department of game and inland fisheries.

Shiflett said his agency turned the investigation over to state game officials to avoid the appearance of any favoritism or conflict of interest.

Clarke called the case "an unfortunate incident that we had to handle in a professional manner, and that's what we did."

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com


    Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Capt. Clarke refers to this as an unfortunate incident. Is that what it would be characterized as if it had been John Q. Public? If the deputies resigned on Nov 5th why was a Warren County Sheriff's Department car still in the possession of one of the deputies on Nov. 10th?
    No, the article doesn't state this. The car was in plain view at the residence.

    I am just in shock that this happened. The only reason that people are making a big deal over this because of them deputies. But I know alot of people that road hunt and they don't get caught. I am not saying that it is right but let these go on with their life clean up the mess and move on. You all act like you all are perfect. Yes they are law enforcement and they should be role models but they make mistakes. They also have a families. Right or wrong they are already living a life of hell right now

      At least 4 posts have been removed by someone at NVD, mine among them. I was guilty of rather bland name calling so I will edit my previous post to remove the offending descriptive words and renew my effort to conform to this NVD moving target of posting regulations.


      Disagree.... you can not condone scofflaws, Kimberly, especially those who act under color of authority believing their privileged status will protect them from repercussions. This has been "Standard Operating Procedure" with the Warren County Sheriff's Department for decades. Police brothers protect their own.

      Where in The Code of Virginia does it supply a separate set of laws solely applicable to deer killing cops, judges who grow and smoke marijuana, and elected officials who drink then drive?

      Yes, I agree with many of the above posters who have had unpleasant experiences with the Sheriff and his Deputies. Dare I suggest the only reason these 3 Deputies resigned was too much information was beyond the direct control of the Sheriff who normally would have squashed the violations.

    You know a lot of "road hunters" so that makes it okay? If you knew a lot of bank robbers, murderers and drug dealers, would that be okay too? They made a mistake? No, they chose to recklessly discharge firearms in a residential area, kill an animal, and then leave the carcass to rot and stink up the whole neighborhood. Maybe if they had been poor people who needed to harvest the meat to survive through the Winter I would feel a little bad for them, but these are simply scofflaw punks who deserve what they got.

    Really!!!! Kimberly, you have a twisted way of looking at things. These three deputies were given the authority to detain, charge and arrest citizens of this community for violations of law. Sheriff McEatheron swore them to uphold those laws. THEY decided to violate those laws therefore they should be punished for that.. It is that simple.. Now maybe there is a culture within the Sheriffs office that allows the occasional straying from the law, since apparently they have several deputies that have done this same type of violation in the past. People will do what they are allowed to get away with.. Maybe this problem runs a lot deeper than the shooting of deer. Just a thought...

    There is only 2 of them that are being charged. Reread the story. And yes this has happened in the pass within the department. Look it up. It is not right. Just like I don't think anyone should drink and drive. And get away with it. But they do.

    Always feel bad for the innocent victims – the families of the accused. It is shameful to all, the excused and their families. My experience with WCSD has not indicated that they have integrity. This is the first incident that I feel the SD has stepped up and not allowed ‘improper’ indiscretions. When you commit the crime, whether it be shooting illegally in town or in a subdivision that is clearly marked ‘no hunting’ you are a lawbreaker. No city, town or rural community is perfect, but I do expect those that carry a badge to behave in a manner close to nearly perfect. You are sworn in to uphold the laws of the state. I truly hope the Sherriff reads this. Please spend time re-educating your deputies…. Teach them the value of their jobs, the importance of their jobs in the community - that even ‘off duty’ you are still a deputy, what you say, what you do, who you ‘befriend’ has consequences…

      You are exactly right, So why did they do what they did? No organization is immune from the bad apple, but there appears to be something out of the ordinary going on in that agency. Hiring process, Values, Culture, Leadership, well something is amiss. Three deputies gone, taxpayer money gone, So why did this happen?

    I am very glad that no one was hurt... say a traveling bullet (?) just another thought. I am sure that the Sheriff knows what he is doing with training his people.. and there will always be some who stray from what is right... This situation has had to be especially tough on those that have worked with these fella's. As a whole-- I personally know quite a few of the WCSD folks.. and they are some extraordinary people who will go to the ends of the earth to do their job and help the public- lets not lose sight of that. These 3 made a bad choice. They are paying for it. God Bless.

    I have personal experience with WCSD – my neighbor called them out because my little dog got out of the yard. They came to my house, demanded I show the rabies certificate and my license… Yes, I had both and was current and still am… When I had to go to court because my neighbor (only he said my dog was loose) stated I violated the loose dog ordinance (the dog was in my yard)– My neighbor too feel prey, his dog got out – running the street and turnabout is fair play or so you would think?… Not only did the deputies NOT ask my neighbor for his license and rabies, they said it was at their discretion.. And did not site him for his dog they “SAW” running loose…in the street. My neighbor DID not have a license for his dogs – The law is what it is ...but not so in WC. Fortunately, for me I got out of this situation without incident – but this situation with the WCSD is one of many I have encountered… The Deputies befriend sex offenders, allow their ‘friends’ to drive unlicensed illegal vehicles on our roads and yes, they use the card “officer discretion” so for Gaming, Front Royal PD and WCSD to not allow anymore ‘officer’ discretion… Kudos…… I do think the WCSD, Front Royal PD have the low end of gene pool when it comes to integrity among their troops. – And I stand firm… Re-educate! I am entitled to my opinion, as you are

    You know a lot of "road hunters" so that makes it okay? If you knew a lot of bank robbers, murderers and drug dealers, would that be okay too? They made a mistake? No, they chose to recklessly discharge firearms in a residential area, kill an animal, and then leave the carcass to rot and stink up the whole neighborhood. Maybe if they had been poor people who needed to harvest the meat to survive through the Winter I would feel a little bad for them, but these are simply scofflaw punks who deserve what they got.

    Thank you, very well said, my sentiments exactly.

    Everybody is saying all these bad things about these guys and have no idea of any of the facts, like how much land were they on since there is a lot of property in town that you can't even see houses. I always like reading things like this but I have a question when deputies or cops do good things no one ever comments but when they mess up your all over them....but hey the laws the law right but let's think they were charged with nothing more than a traffic ticket what if we all lost our jobs over something so petty

    Everyone is entitled to and has an opinion about this incident. Here goes mine. First, the deer population in the Town is out of control. Second, I understand that the area where the deer was shot was near town limits and not near residences. They were wrong, but they are human and make mistakes. Let's not turn this incident into a local law enforcement bash fest. These men have families and risked their lives when they put on the uniform and served the community. Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone. Plastering their name in all the local media outlets is just wrong. They were punished harshly and quickly. Enough already!!

    I personally think that the infrastructure of this department is just damaged and corrupt. The media that is involved with wcsd on any particular day for one thing or another just shows that something is inherently wrong. I think that the whole small town "we are the law" mentality got out of hand. I heard that this incident is just The tip of the iceberg on what goes on within that dept. The hunting incident was wrong..The mentality that they feel that they have this entitlement to amend the law based on their positions is even worse. when your credibility as a law enforcement agency becomes something to snicker and laugh about within the public's eye...time to clean house guys...

    Interesting! Police report an incident to DGIF. 3 deputies resign. An investigation is conducted by an independent third agency that results in charges being placed. What the hell more does everyone want? Sounds to me like there's more issues at play with people's opinions of the S.O. than just an illegal hunting incident!

    Just because this incident took place in the town limits doent mean that it was in a neighborhhood. Would this story get anyones attention if it was a "normal" citizen? NO it wouldnt. Big deal someone hunts without the proper license. Yes they happen to be deputies, they made a bad choice. This happened over a week agao and its just getting notice. HMMM We are just going to believe everything the papers tell us. Maybe there is more to this story than the paper has said? But we are all going to just read and believe everything we see. These guys make a mistake and are paying for it. They dont need to be bashed and basically called a POS because of a deer. They have families like everyone else and feelings too. If rthis story was such a BIG deal why wasnt it released a week ago. Sounds like there is more to the story than the "papers" are telling. Also to everyone that has bashed the deputies

    My O My!!! Kinda crazy when the tables get turned as such! Seriously EVERYONE

    My O My!!! Kinda crazy when the tables get turned as such! Seriously, EVERYONE knows how corrupt the departments are in Front Royal! Years before I was even born, the people who lived around here tell stories of the "good ol boy" system! Honestly even though I am 100% sure at least one of these deputies has done some shady stuff(this is factual from personal experience) I wonder what they did that ISN'T in this article!?!?!? They received a misdemeanor charge that apparently carries absolutely NO jail time yet they willingly resigned( or so the media has told us) from their careers? That's insane! People get charges everyday! Alot worse than killing deer that cause us all accidents pretty frequently and we dont lose our jobs for this! Sounds to me like these deputies musta p***ed someone a little higher than them in the department off to take such drastic measures over such a small insignificant matter! Another case blantantly showing corruption in our small town or at the very least an extremely suspect situation! But I guess that's what people call KARMA! One cannot do shady corrupt things for so many years and not get paid back at some point!

    Villagers! Put away the pitchforks and torches!

    Give me a break.

    I think we may be missing something here.

    Why did three officers resign over something that would normally entail, at most, a suspension, small fine, and a black star in their personnel file?

    One of the officers is not even being charged with a game crime. He still resigned.

    I think this should be looked into a little further. This immediate resignation of three officers smells like a "get the problem out of the public's eye before they catch on" solution to an much larger, embarrassing problem.

    If a state agency investigates and finds other wrongdoing, THEN gather the pitchforks and torches.

    Some say we should hide the women and children. Some say something has gone terribly wrong in Happy Land County. Some say Sheriff Buford T. Hornswoggle has finally gotten himself inexplicably entangled with scallywags and ne'er do wells. Some say the only cure is a thorough investigation that leaves no stone unturned. Some say follow the money spent on the new sheriff's building and the regional jail. (Some say queue the Teabillies cause these shenanigans will be bigger than Watergate)

    I'm just sayin' some say this and some say that.

      I've seen your post on here before whacko jacko, most I think are "swelll". I'm not sure where this one is on my list.

      yep I think the pitcforks should be put away. There is a good ole boy/girl system anywher you look in the valley. Everything coaggulates from there!

      I can remember as a child living near RMA seeing deer, and once in a while a bear running through the nieghborhood. Our neighbor shot some squirrel with his riffle that was nesting near our roof, and no one complained about it, but that was 30 some years ago.

    Really sad to see so many posts from people that think that this incident is no big deal and only being reported on because it was law enforcement officers. First of all, it is a reasonable expectation that officers of the law and the courts will obey ALL the laws! Secondly, the laws pertaining to hunting are in place to keep people safe. That is the motto of law enforcement, "To Serve & Protect" is it not? Great thanks to the majority of law enforcement officers that are putting their lives on the line to Serve & Protect!

    Serious, Brad has to pay a fine, what about other punishments? These poor excuses for law officers are suppose to enforce the law and then break the same laws and get a fine!!!! Game laws call for these charges to a 1 year to life suspension of owning or possessing a firearm, was that enforced at all. At any point in time these guys could have went through the process of hunting legally in town limits with a bow NOT A FIREARM, several people in the town, including some officers, have taken these steps. You have to attend a safety class, pay dues and then qualify, unless they were scared they couldn't quailfy. Why should these guys be above the laws and punishment because they carry or did carry a badge. This is just another example of exactly how messed up the justice system really is!!!!

      There are NO game laws that carry a "suspension of owning or possessing a firearm".

      None, zero, nada.

      There ARE game laws that carry a suspension of the right to hunt for a certain amount of time.

      Get your facts right blowhard.

    Read the VGIF Hunting Regulation Handbook under unlawful methods first line states:Penalties may include hunting or trapping privilege revocation for one year to life and forfeiture of firearms.

    Not sure you read english or not but looks like gun suspension to me.

    Now blowhard get your facts straight before you run off about something you apparently know nothing about.

      "forfeiture of firearms" means they take the gun you were using at the time of the violation and don't give it back. In certain circumstances they may take more than just the one you had on you, but it doesn't prevent you from keeping or purchasing more. You could go out and buy one the next day perfectly legally. As was stated previously, no VDGIF game laws carry a "life suspension of owning or possessing a firearm".

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