Conservation Law Enforcement Corner – March 2019

The Conservation LE Corner is designed to highlight the efforts of Georgia DNR Law Enforcement Division (LED) officers who, among their many duties, protect Georgia’s wildlife, sportsmen and natural resources from game-law violators.

GON Staff | March 12, 2019

Effingham County: On Nov.  28, 2017, game warden Jordan Crawford received a call from Effingham County Deputy David Cribbs about possible illegal hunting taking place off Lee Road. The deputy saw someone shining a light near the back of a cotton field, and then a truck driving in the field. 

When the vehicle exited the field on Clyo-Shawnee Road, Deputy Cribbs performed a traffic stop. Two dead deer were in the bed of the truck.

According to the incident report, the driver, William Eric Malphus, of Clyo, said he was not hunting and a friend had shot the deer, and he had just gone to pick the deer up. 

In his report, officer Crawford stated, “I asked Malphus if he had any guns in the truck, and he stated he didn’t. I asked him if he was a convicted felon, and he shrugged. 

“I asked the passenger what had happened. He stated he had not done any hunting and had just caught a ride home with Malphus from their job site.”

The passenger said Malphus told him he was going to stop and do a little hunting on the way home. He said Malphus stopped along Lee Road and left him in the truck while he went in the woods. He heard several shots, and Malphus returned to the truck, and then they went to pick up the two deer. They noticed a car driving down Lee Road, and this made Malphus nervous, according to the passenger. Malphus stated that they need to get out of here. Malphus then took both his guns, a scoped rifle and shotgun, and threw them out the truck window along the edge of the field. 

A small buck and doe killed illegally by a convicted felon.

Game Warden Jack Thain and his K9 ‘Case’ arrived to assist in a search for the guns. They found a scoped .30-30 rifle, a bolt-action shotgun and a pair of binoculars. 

The officers called dispatch and to get Malphus’ criminal history and learned he was a convicted felon. 

Malphus did not have permission to hunt on the property, did not have a valid hunting licenses, and his hunting privileges had been suspended by DNR for not paying child support. Finally, by hiding the guns used in the crime, Malphus had interfered with the performance of the duties as a Conservation Ranger/Game Warden. 

On Dec. 20, 2017, another warrant for Theft by Receiving Stolen Property was issued. His sister in-law said the 30-30 rifle had been stolen from her. 

Malphus was sentenced to serve six years.  

Case Files

Recent citations issued by DNR Law Enforcement. These cases have not been adjudicated.

• Appling Co.: Nov. 16, Tychicus Johnson, of Surrency; hunting deer at night; hunting from a public road; hunting from a vehicle.

• Evans Co.: Nov. 11, Tom Wall, of Claxton, and Jo Cato, of Statesboro; hunting deer at night; hunting big game from a public road, hunting from a vehicle.

• Fannin Co.: Nov. 22, Christopher Price, James Penwell, and Cody Akins, all of Blue Ridge; hunting from a vehicle; hunting big game from a public road; hunting deer at night.

• Gwinnett Co.: Nov. 25, Phillip Christopher, of Suwanee; hunting without permission; theft by taking wildlife.

• Hall Co.: Dec. 1, Justin Owenby and Cameron Sosebee, of Cleveland; hunting from a public road; hunting from a vehicle; hunting deer at night.

• Haralson Co.: Nov. 18, Blake Dyer, of Buchanan; Travis Shaw, of Bremen; Patrick Walters, of Tallapoosa; Tracey Pope, of Buchanan; Ethan Walters, of Tallapoosa; hunting from a vehicle; hunting from a public road.  

• Hart Co.: Oct. 30, Ethan Sellers, of Hartwell, and Brandon Ankerich, of Bowersville; hunting deer at night; hunting from a public road; hunting from a vehicle.  

• Houston Co.: Nov. 5, Oscar Hernandez-Martin, of Warner Robins; hunting deer at night; hunting from a vehicle.  

• Jeff Davis Co.: Nov. 11, Jason Crawford and Deanna Clay, of Hazlehurst; hunting deer at night; hunting from a public road; hunting from a vehicle. 

• Madison Co.: Nov. 25, Gary Tiller, of Commerce; taking over season limit of antlered deer; possession of illegally taken wildlife; hunting without big game license.

• Muscogee Co.: Nov. 15, Paul Money, of Columbus; illegal importation of cervid carcass or parts from CWD-positive state.

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