A Juneau man accused of killing a wolf out of season, then dumping its body on a road, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two misdemeanor charges.
Troy A. Portis, 34, pleaded guilty to killing a wolf during a closed season and failure to salvage a hide, both misdemeanors. Juneau District Court Judge Keith Levy ordered Portis to pay an $8,000 fine, and serve 90 days in jail. The judge suspended $7,000 of the fine and the entire jail term.
He ordered Portis to pay $500 in restitution to the state, and serve one year of probation. Portis was originally charged with three misdemeanor charges. Patrick Peterson, 49, also charged in the shooting, is awaiting trial.
Alaska State Troopers say Portis shot the wolf July 16, somewhere near Twin Glacier Creek, then dumped the carcass on Thane Road where it was found by a berry picker. A necropsy of the wolf showed it was shot two or three times in the skull and back and its throat had been slit.
The incident quickly gained notoriety. Many Juneau residents thought the slain wolf was a black wolf known as "Romeo," who frequented the Mendenhall Glacier area. Neither was the case. Testing showed that the wolf wasn't Romeo, and according to Todd Machacek, the Alaska State Trooper who investigated the killing, Portis and Peterson thought wolves were still in season when they were hunting.
They slit the wolf's throat because they found out the animal was still alive while they were transporting it in a boat and couldn't shoot the animal while they were in the vessel. When they got into town and found out wolf hunting season was over, they didn't know what to do, Machacek said.
"So they panicked and dumped the body on Thane Road."
A $9,000 reward was offered by members of the community for information leading to finding the perpetrator, but no one has stepped up for the reward, Machacek said.
"We had a confidential informant who gave us some information that led us to the suspects."
Machacek said the state also received considerable help from Special Agent Samuel Friberg of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Juneau author Nick Jans, who helped organize the reward effort, said the shooting was "an act of ignorance."
"I'm glad the guy decided to plead guilty. Anybody can make a mistake," he said. "I believe if that guy could have it all back, he would have it all back."
* Will Morris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.