While the recent murders of people such as Jorge Lopez-Ramirez, a teenager gunned down in late July, and Dwayne Banks, killed this week on Grape Street, received only modest press attention, stories involving bears have prompted blanket coverage, as the multi-station live broadcast of the #BearLivesMatter capture last week demonstrates.
That's bad news for Evergreen's Daniel Williams, who became a high-profile object of media-stoked ire after he shot two bear cubs, both of which eventually died.
Williams has now been formally charged with a large list of offenses that could net him up to four-and-a-half years behind bars — and the case has clearly become a high priority for prosecutors in Jefferson County.
At approximately 5:15 a.m. on Tuesday, September 1, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, Williams was awakened at his home, on the 27000 block of Lupine Drive, by a mother bear and her two cubs.
They were rooting around in his trash.
Williams responded by loaded his shotgun with two rounds of rubber buckshot — but they didn't do the trick.
At that point, his dog ran outside, and because he cared for his pet's safety, he told the JCSO, he used a lethal round for his third shot, striking a neighbor's house as well as both cubs.
One was killed instantly, while the other was so badly injured that it had to be euthanized.
In the meantime, the mother bear ran up a nearby tree and stayed there for hours, giving local TV stations a chance to keep the story going throughout the day. At the conclusion of the saga, CBS4 anthropomorphized the situation with a headline that reads "Grieving Mama Bear Finally Leaves Tree After Cubs Shot To Death."
The station's report captures the unhappiness of neighbors about Williams's actions, and he was also castigated on social media.
Now, the 1st Judicial District DA's office has lowered the boom on Williams, formally charging him with two felonies — illegal discharge of a firearm and aggravated cruelty to animals — plus six misdemeanors. There are so many counts that the office listed them on a separate document that's on view below.
"If convicted of the felony counts, Mr. Williams could potentially face up to 4.5 years in prison," the DA's office release points out, adding, "Each of the misdemeanor counts carries a potential county jail sentence and significant fines."
Nonetheless, Williams hasn't been arrested. Instead, he will receive a summons, at which point he'll learn about his court date. You can bet it will be well attended by local journalists.
Look below to see the aforementioned CBS4 report, broadcast while the mother bear was still in the tree, followed by the list of charges.