Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Anti-wolf activist to stand trial

Case stems from alleged March 25 attack on wolf advocate

Ron Gillett Photo by Jason Kauffman

Anti-wolf activist Ron Gillett of Stanley will stand trial in Challis for allegedly attacking pro-wolf advocate Lynne Stone, Custer County Magistrate Judge Charles Roos decided during a pretrial conference Monday.

The case stems from a March 25 altercation between Gillett and Stone near the Valley Creek Bridge in Stanley. During his arraignment, Gillett pleaded not guilty to the charges of misdemeanor assault and battery.

According to Stone, executive director of the Stanley-based environmental organization Boulder-White Clouds Coalition, Gillett drove up alongside her as she prepared to take a walk with her dog along Valley Creek. Stone said she took several photographs of Gillett after he began yelling at her from inside his pickup.

She said this further enraged the well-known 67-year-old director of the Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition. She said he stepped out of his vehicle and proceeded to try to wrestle her camera from her hands.

Owner of the Triangle C Ranch, located on the edge of Stanley, Gillett has reportedly been involved in several public shouting matches with Stone in recent years.

Several hours after the March incident, a Custer County sheriff's deputy placed Gillett under arrest at his Stanley home and transported him to the county jail in Challis. Gillett was released on his own recognizance later that same day.

On Monday, Judge Roos also extended a no-contact order on Gillett requiring him to come no closer than 300 feet from Stone or 100 feet from her vehicle. The order, which now extends to Aug. 22, also prohibits Gillett from contacting Stone by telephone, through a third party or by e-mail, according to the Custer County Sheriff's Office.

The maximum penalty for assault is a $1,000 fine and three months jail. The maximum penalty for battery is a $1,000 fine and six months jail.

The controversial anti-wolf activist has long objected to the federal government's reintroduction of gray wolves to Idaho in 1995 and 1996. Gillett and the coalition are circulating a petition that would prevent Idaho from taking over management of wolves and also require that the predators be removed from the state.

As of press time Tuesday, information on a trial date was unavailable.

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