It appears two brothers who ran the largest U.S. deer poaching operation in history won’t be serving their time in prison after all.
Texas brothers James and Marlin Butler were originally sentenced in March 2011 to nearly six years combined prison time for the 120 illegally-taken deer they helped some 30 men poach in Kansas. The Butlers operated Camp Lone Star in Comanche County, and were also fined $70,000 for their exploits. However the 10th Circuit Court in Denver took issue this week with the way the penalties were levied, thus ruling to erase any prison time and sending the case back to the Court of Appeals.
U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown, at the time 104 years old, sentenced both men and set their fines at $3,500 a deer. However, after Brown died, the 10th Circuit Court reviewed the case and overturned the original ruling.
The Butler’s case will be sent back to the U.S. District Court for reevaluation, where state wildlife officials believe the sentencing could be reduced even further, according to the Wichita Eagle.