The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


November 11, 2013

Idaho man acquitted in Snyder County cattle theft case

MIDDLEBURG — An Idaho resident has been cleared by a Snyder County judge of stealing cattle from a Middleburg farmer.
Tony E. Martins, 38, a cattle broker from Filer, Idaho, was convicted in June after a two-day jury trial of one count of felony theft for stealing cattle from Michael and Cassandra Snook, owners of Creek Bottom Farms, after years of doing business together.
The jury also acquitted Martins of another theft charge and were unable to agree on three other felony charges. Later, Senior Judge Louise O. Knight issued an acquittal on the three hung charges.
In September, Knight sentenced Martins to 36 months of probation and to pay the Snooks $15,000 in restitution.
The sentence was delayed pending a post-sentence motion for acquittal, which defense attorney Stephen Becker filed with the court challenging the commonwealth’s claim that a theft occurred.
In her decision granting the defense request, Knight determined that the evidence supports a claim of breach of contract and not a crime of theft.
“Tony is of course very pleased that he has been completely vindicated.  We always knew he had never committed a crime,” Becker said. “In fact it is difficult to understand why the (state) Attorney General’s office would ever prosecute such a case that was at most a contract dispute – which is a civil matter, not criminal.”

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