ELKO — A Nevada judge ordered a 21-year-old Elko man to serve three years’ probation and pay $1,450 restitution for killing and butchering a rancher’s cow, but not before she lectured him about the cruelty of the senseless crime.
Jayce J. Blevins pleaded guilty in August to attempted unlawful killing of an animal belonging to another person, a gross misdemeanor. He admitted shooting the cow last year and cutting a large piece of meat from the hind quarters.
Elko County District Judge Nancy Porter sentenced him Monday to six months in prison, but suspended the sentence as long as he completes 36 months’ probation, pays the restitution and court costs and abstains from alcohol, the Elko Daily Free Press reported.
The Red Angus cow was found dead in March 2012 on Thorpe Creek Ranch near Lamoille with a bullet hole through its neck and a chunk of hind quarters missing.
Deputy District Attorney Tyler Ingram told the judge the restitution was significant given the importance of cattle to the rural community about 300 miles northeast of Reno.
“It was pretty obvious that this was a silly and senseless crime, and especially here in Elko County where livestock is a livelihood,” Ingram said.
Porter told Blevins she agreed to the probation partly because of his young age but didn’t want him to think she was taking the killing lightly. She said he not only destroyed someone’s valuable property but also likely caused the animal to suffer.
“This wasn’t just somebody’s property. This was a living thing. And what you did, I think, was cruel,” Porter said.
Blevins told deputies he and a friend had been shooting near the ranch at night when they shot the cow, according to court documents.
They left the area, but returned to look for a missing cellphone and noticed the cow was still alive. They decided to kill it, then later cleaved a section of meat from its hind quarter, court records show.
Blevins apologized in court on Monday and assured the judge she’d never see him again.
“What I did was wrong,” he said. “I’m doing everything I can to continue on the straight and narrow.”