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Four Wisconsin men sentenced for illegally killing mountain lion in Montana, obstruction

MADISON, WI — A Barnes, Wisconsin man is among four men who will be on probation and pay heavy fines after illegally killing a mountain lion in Montana in 2017, and for conspiring to obstruct a federal grand jury investigation in 2018.

David Johnson, 31, will serve three years on probation, and pay $25,000 in fines after receiving his sentence on Tuesday.

In addition, the judge ordered Johnson, as well as two other defendants, to forfeit instruments used during the illegal hunt.

Johnson turned over collars, binoculars, a receiver, shotgun and a Mountain lion hide.

The three other defendants – Robert Peters, 53, of Turtle Lake, Steven Reindahl, 55, of Turtle Lake, and Darren Johnson, 52, of Deer Park, were also sentenced to various amounts of probation.

As part of the probation, the men’s conditions include not hunting or trapping, as well as not helping and/or accompanying others who are hunting or trapping worldwide for a two year period, which began on Tuesday.

Peters and Reindahl were fined $5,000, and Darren Johnson was fined $30,000.

Court documents state Darren and David Johnson, Bob Peters and Steve Reindahl were in Mosby, Montana hunting mountain lions with their dogs, which ended up treeing a mountain lion.

At the time, only Darren Johnson and Reindahl had a valid license to hunt mountain lions, however David used Darren’s rifle to shoot and kill the mountain lion, and Darren Johnson took out his tag and tagged the lion.

According to witness testimony, Darren told the group that everyone needed to stick to the story that Darren killed the mountain lion, and all four men drove back to Wisconsin in January, where Darren and Reindahl transported the hide.

A few days later, court documents say Darren dropped off the hide at David’s home.

In late May of 2018, Peters and Reindahl were served to testify before a federal grand jury in June regarding the 2017 hunt.

On June 17th, five days before the testimony, the four men met at Peter’s home to talk about the upcoming grand jury session, and Darren Johnson allegedly told everyone to stick to the story that he killed the lion on January sixth of 2017, and that agents didn’t have any proof to say otherwise.

On June 21st, Peters and Reindahl admitted they lied to the grand jury, and agreed to cooperate and to tell the truth, and then recanted their prior testimony and explained how David killed the animal before Darren tagged it, and how Darren had told everyone to stick to the story of how he had killed it.

Both Peters and Reindahl explained how they were told by Darren at the meeting in Turtle Lake to not tell members of the Grand Jury the truth.

Authorities say David Johnson and Darren Johnson are not related.

Kaitlyn Moffett

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