WILTON, Conn. -- A Wilton man accused of killing two black bears in September was placed on a special probation that will see the charges dismissed if he does not commit a crime in the next two years, according to the Wilton Bulletin.
Antonio Lio, 28, of Wilton had been arrested along with 34-year-old Daniel Moran of Wilton after Environmental Conservation Police said the pair had shot and killed two bears on Sept. 16. Police said that they received a tip and responded to a private property in Wilton to find Lio and Moran carrying a bear skin, head and paws in a backpack.
Both men were arrested, and Lio was charged with two counts of illegal taking of black bear and fourth-degree negligent hunting, while Moran was charged with conspiracy to commit illegal taking of black bear.
Appearing in court on Wednesday, Lio was granted accelerated rehabilitation, the Wilton Bulletin reported. That means he will be placed on probation for two years, and if he does not commit a crime during that time, the charges will be dropped. He was also ordered to perform 40 hours of community service, and his hunting license is suspended during his probation, according to the Wilton Bulletin.
Moran had pleaded guilty to his charge in November, receiving a $500 and getting his hunting license suspended.
The killing of the bears had sparked anger in Wilton and surrounding communities. Many expressed outrage at what they deemed was the "poaching" of the bears, and protests were held outside the court in Norwalk where the two men were scheduled to appear.
During his court appearance, Lio's attorney told the judge that Lio's pregnant wife had been hysterical after two bears were spotted in the area near their home, according to the Wilton Bulletin. He said that Lio had been acting to protect his family, the Wilton Bulletin reported.
Several protesters met Lio at his court appearance on Wednesday, and many were upset by the verdict, according to the Wilton Bulletin.
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