The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

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June 4, 2014

State court: Idahoan no cattle thief

MIDDLEBURG — A Snyder County judge’s decision to clear an Idaho man of stealing cattle from a Middleburg farmer has been upheld by a state appellate court.

Cattle broker Tony E. Martins, 39, of Filer, Idaho, was accused of stealing 19 cattle from Michael and Cassandra Snook, of Creek Bottom Farms, after years of doing business.

He was convicted of one count of felony theft last year following a two-day jury trial in Snyder County and was sentenced to 36 months of probation and to pay the Snooks $15,000 in restitution.

Martins was acquitted of a second theft charge and the jury was unable to agree on three other felony charges, for which the trial judge, Senior Judge Louise O. Knight, later issued an acquittal.

Martins’ defense attorney, Stephen Becker, of Lewisburg, appealed the single theft conviction challenging the claim that a theft occurred.

Knight postponed sentencing pending the appeal, which she later granted on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

District Attorney Michael Piecuch appealed the ruling to the state Superior Court in November.

The recent Superior Court ruling upheld the judgment of acquittal, finding that no theft occurred and that Martins’ failure to pay for the cattle “may have been a breach of his contract with the Snooks, but it was not a criminal offense.”

 

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