Va. Man Guilty Of Baiting, Killing Bears

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) – A Pembroke man has pleaded guilty to baiting and killing bears at a popular Giles County recreation area.

Merrill Conley pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to illegally baiting bears in the Cascades Recreation Area, knowingly hunting in a baited place, maintaining an illegal trail on national forest land and other charges.

Under an agreement with prosecutors last week, he avoided jail time. But his punishment includes paying fines and restitution, including for illegally killing a black bear.

Capt. Woody Lipps of the U.S. Forest Service says Conley and an unidentified teenager would follow a homemade trail to an area where they would bait and then shoot the bears. Two bears were killed.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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