Traverse City Record-Eagle

December 7, 2012

Teen pleads not guilty at poaching arraignment


TRAVERSE CITY — A local teen who is charged with poaching a black bear and at least seven deer entered a not guilty plea to 11 misdemeanor counts.

David Garrick Walston, 17, of Traverse City, is charged with using an artificial light to illegally hunt and taking wild animals without a hunting license. He faces up to 90 days in jail on each of the 11 counts.

Walston's attorney, Michael Lewis, entered the not guilty plea on Walston's behalf on Thursday before 86th District Court Judge Thomas J. Phillips. Lewis said he is starting an investigation into the allegations.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources contends Walston and two other men, Zachary Mark Johnson, 17, of Traverse City, and Daniel Lynn Kelsey, 21, of Lake Ann, poached the bear and deer in September and October by "shining" the animals with a spotlight from a pickup, then shooting them with a rifle. The animals were killed in Grand Traverse, Benzie and Leelanau counties.

Johnson pleaded guilty to eight hunting-related misdemeanor offenses on Tuesday. He was sentenced to a year of probation and $2,400 in fines.

Misdemeanor charges against Kelsey are pending.