Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wyoming: BLM employee Jason Hein accused of shooting and killing three horses inside their corral

WYOMING -- Authorities have arrested a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) employee in connection with the June shooting deaths of three horses at the agency's holding corrals.

BLM spokeswoman Lorraine Keith said Tuesday that Jason Hein was arrested in Billings on Friday. He was charged with seven felony and misdemeanor counts.

"It's good news that the process is working ... and hopefully we'll have closure soon," Keith said.

She said authorities aren't aware of a motive for the shootings.

Hein is still an employee of the BLM, but Keith said he has been on "administrative leave" from his job at the agency's Rock Springs Field Office. He has been employed by the BLM for several years.

Sweetwater County Sheriff Rich Haskell said that a joint county and federal investigation led to Hein's arrest on charges of aggravated cruelty to animals, unlawful killing of wild horses, and property destruction and defacement.

The Sweetwater County attorney's office filed charges against Hein in Circuit Court in Rock Springs. Haskell said Hein is free on a $50,000 bond set in Justice Court in Billings.

BLM personnel arriving for work June 12 discovered that three wild horses had been shot and killed by an unknown person sometime during the night of June 11 with a .22 caliber weapon.

Two of the horses killed were privately owned, and a third horse was a wild mustang that was being held at the corrals.

The wild horse had been gathered as part of BLM roundup operations and was being held at the Rock Springs horse corrals while up for adoption. The agency's corrals and wild horse operations were not closed as a result of the incident.

The June shootings marked the second time in nearly a decade that wild horses have been shot and killed in Sweetwater County.

In February 2001, more than 30 wild horses were shot and killed on federal rangelands northeast of Rock Springs in the Red Desert. That case remains unsolved.

Full Name: Jason Edward Hein
Gender: Male
City: Billings, Montana
Height: 6'00"
Weight: 180 lbs
Arrest Age: 39
Arrest Date: 10/26/2009
Arrest Location: Sweetwater County, Wyoming

(Casper Star-Tribune - Sept 29, 2009)