BILLINGS — A 23-year-old Montana man faces 24 criminal charges, including eight felonies, involving the illegal killing of three elk in August.
The Billings Gazette reports that the attorney for Earl R. Benes, of Roundup, says his client will plead not guilty on all counts in Musselshell County District Court.
Musselshell County prosecutors allege that on Aug. 18 Benes used a semi-automatic pistol to kill two trophy elk among a herd crossing a road.
They say three days later, Benes killed another bull elk with a rifle from a roadway.
Benes also faces 16 misdemeanor game violations.
The charges carry a maximum possible penalty of $278,500 in fines, as well as 83 years in jail or prison.
Authorities say Benes’ hunting privileges were suspended at the time for a previous offense.