[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

BHI trial update



Sorry I am off line for a while, but here his the result of the BHI 
trial:

        The Rapid City Journal has reported that the trial of the Black 
Hills Institute is over.  The government conducted a four-year 
investigation ranging from California to Washington, D.C., Peru to 
Japan, costing tax payers several millions of dollars.  After weeks of 
deliberation, the federal jury either voted Tuesday to acquit or failed 
to reach a verdict on most of the 149 felony and five misdemeanor 
charges.  Pete Larson (BHI president) was convicted of two felonies 
related to customs violations (failure to declare $31,700 in travelers 
checks brought from Japan, and failure to declare $15,000 in cash he 
took to Peru).  He was also convicted of two for misdemeanors involving 
fossils less than $100.00.  Bob Farrar (BHI secretary-treasurer) was 
convicted of two felonies related to customs violations (undervaluing 
fossils on customs declarations).  BHI was convicted of four felonies, 
three related to customs violations, and one for buying (not collecting) 
a catfish fossil collected from the Badlands National Park.  Neal Larson 
(BHI vice-president) was convicted of one misdemeanor, and Terry Wentz 
was acquitted of all charges.  
        No one was convicted of theft of fossils from government land, 
including the Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Reservations, nor for 
conspiracy charges.  The deadlock votes were 11-1 for acquittal.  Judge 
Richard Battey will decide later whether he would order not guilty 
verdicts for counts the jury could not decide.  If he does not, 
prosecutors could retry the defendants on those charges.  No date has 
been set for sentencing, and Larson and Farrar are free on bond.
        Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Mandel said he was disappointed that 
the jury did not reach verdicts on all counts, but accepted the jury's 
judgement.  BHI will appeal the convictions.
        Jurors also failed to reach a verdict for two charges against 
Eddie Cole, another commercial collector, who was acquitted of a third 
charge.