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Terry Goddard Announces Guilty Plea for Cattle Rustler

(Phoenix, Ariz. – Sept. 10, 2010) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced that Jason Lon Kirby, 34, of Datilo, New Mexico has pleaded guilty to one count of theft and one count of trafficking in stolen property in the first degree for cattle rustling in Arizona and Texas.  

“Cattle rustling is one of Arizona’s oldest crimes,” Goddard said. “And while we don’t hang rustlers anymore, we prosecute them to the fullest extent of modern law.”

In early 2009 Kirby entered into a pasture agreement with Jay Platt, of Plateau Partnership, based in northern Arizona, to tend up to 500 cattle on land near Superior. According to the pasture agreement, the Plateau Partnership paid Kirby $10,000 up front, with Kirby to be paid $10 per animal per month. The contract covered January to May of 2009. Between May and June 2009, however and without the authority of Plateau Partnership, Kirby sold 191 steers and heifers to feed yards in Texas. Kirby received over $100,000 for the cattle. Kirby was picked up in Georgia on a warrant and was arraigned on June 18, 2010 in Pinal County.  

Under the plea, Kirby is facing up to two-and-a-half years in the Arizona Department of Corrections to be followed by seven years probation. He must also pay restitution to the Plateau Partnership and/or Fredonia Feed Yard in an amount not to exceed $500,000.

Sentencing is set for October 4 in Pinal County Superior Court. This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Beverly Rudnick. 

For additional information, contact Press Secretary Molly Edwards at 602.542.8019.