By Renatta Signorini
A Smithfield man who poached a bear can't hunt in Pennsylvania for the next five years.
Joseph John Swaney, 39, also was ordered to serve a year on probation for his conviction this month.
Fayette County Senior Judge Gerald Solomon sentenced Swaney on Wednesday after he apologized.
“I made a mistake in what I did,” Swaney told Solomon. “I regret it.”
Swaney was found guilty of unlawful killing and taking of a black bear following a one-day trial Oct. 7.
Pennsylvania Game Commission officials believe Swaney's poaching conviction to be the first in the state by a jury trial.
He was ordered to pay $1,500 in restitution to the game commission in accordance with a provision in state law that places monetary value on wildlife involved in a violation.
The provision ranges in restitution from $300 for the illegal possession or killing of a beaver or turkey to $5,000 for a threatened or endangered bird or mammal and certain sizes of black bear, elk and deer.
Swaney killed the black bear on the afternoon of Sept. 7, 2012, when it wandered into his backyard garden, according to court documents. A tipster reported the killing to the game commission, and Swaney was questioned the following week. More....