04/13/05 — Wayne man fined for selling sausage

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Wayne man fined for selling sausage

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on April 13, 2005 1:46 PM

A Walnut Creek man who was charged with six wildlife violations involving the manufacture of deer sausage pleaded guilty Tuesday to two offenses and was fined $500.

Joe Cunningham, 67, of Dogwood Trail pleaded guilty in Wayne County District Court to possession for the purpose of selling deer meat and sale of deer meat. He also was taxed $200 in court costs.

Judge Rose Williams granted a prayer for judgment continued for 12 months. If Cunningham maintains a clean record for a year, then the conviction will be removed from his record.

Cunningham also forfeited his hunting license for a year but was allowed to buy a fishing license under terms of the plea arrangement. All meat-processing equipment that had been seized by North Carolina wildlife officers was ordered returned to Cunningham.

Defense lawyer Robert Smith of Goldsboro explained that Cunningham was a professional meat cutter for 44 years and had no prior arrests. The defendant's full-sized pickup truck also had been seized but was returned.

"It was a good resolution to the case," said Assistant District Attorney Tom Perlungher, who prosecuted the charges.

Cunningham was arrested Jan. 14 by Wildlife Officer Joey Deal after an undercover operation. Another officer had bought deer meat from the defendant.

Cunningham had been charged with three counts of selling or buying wildlife and three counts of wildlife license violations.

He had a first court appearance Feb. 8 and the trial was continued from March 8.