Tech CEO pleads guilty in Colorado bison deaths |

Tech CEO pleads guilty in Colorado bison deaths

Jean Torkelson
Rocky Mountain News
Aspen, CO Colorado

FAIRPLAY, Colo. ” The man accused of arranging for the killing of 32 bison on a neighbor’s property struck a deal Monday in which he’ll face minimal or no jail time but will have to open his wallet wide.

Jeffrey Scott Hawn, CEO of Seattle-based software firm Attachmate, pleaded guilty to a Class 3 felony of criminal mischief and to a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals in Park County Court.

At his Jan. 28 sentencing, he could get up to two years of probation and up to 10 days in the Park County jail.

Part of the deal has him agreeing to pay $84,000 in restitution to the owners of the bison, the Downare family; $4,700 to Park County; and a total of $70,000 to seven charitable organizations involved in animal protection.

Hawn appeared in court in a suit and tie with his attorney Pamela Mackey. Four generations of the Downare family, in cowboy hats and ranching clothes, were also in the courtroom, including head of the family, Monte, and infant Jared.

Prosecutor Katherine O’Brien said the Downares were “very reluctant to accept a plea, not because they are vindicative or have hatred or ill will.”

Rather, they didn’t want to accept a deal because killing livestock is such a serious crime in a ranching community, she said.

Ultimately, though, the deal struck this morning was the best solution for all concerned, she said.

Hawn, 45, of Austin, Texas, is accused of hiring men to kill 30 bison that strayed onto his Park County ranch March 19. He also is accused of killing two of the bison himself.

Nine days before, Hawn had filed a lawsuit against his neighbor, Monte Downare, charging that Downare allowed the bison to trample his property and destroy his fences.

Downare later filed a countersuit against Hawn, charging that Hawn hired 14 hunters to kill the bison.

The value of the slain animals has been put at about $77,000.

Attachmate has an estimated value of $400 million.

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