Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cattle theft case


In January 2009, Hadden was charged with grand theft of approximately twenty calves owned by Steven Bilbao, a cattle rancher near Shoshone, Lincoln County, Idaho. The charge arose from an incident in the winter of 2008, where Bilbao awoke to find that twenty head of cattle were missing from his ranch. Hadden filed a motion for change of venue, primarily due to the extensive pretrial publicity surrounding unrelated charges for the attempted murder of her former father-in-law, Craig Hadden, a well-known realtor and businessman in the area, and for the solicitation of the murder of a police officer, filed against her during the pendency of this case. The district court denied the motion. Hadden again renewed her request for a change of venue during jury selection, which the district court again denied.
At trial, Blaine Ramey, a rancher and owner of a cattle company in Bingham County, Idaho, testified he purchased Bilbao's cows after being contacted by a man named Laramie Keppner, with whom he often did business, about buying some cows from a woman who was going through a divorce. Ramey testified Keppner was accompanied during the transaction by a woman and two teenage boys. During the transaction, a brand inspector came to the ranch and indicated the brand on the cattle was Bilbao's. The woman told Ramey she had a bill of sale for the calves from Bilbao, but had forgotten to bring it with her and would mail it to him. As a result, Ramey made his check payable to both Bilbao and Keppner. Ramey, who was elderly, could not identify at the preliminary hearing or at trial whether Hadden was the woman who was present at the transaction. Likewise, the brand inspector could not identify Hadden with certainty as the woman present at the transaction.
At trial, Keppner testified that Hadden, whom he had known for approximately four to five years, contacted him and indicated she was going through a divorce and wanted to sell some cattle without her husband knowing. He further testified that early one morning, he accompanied Hadden, her sixteen-year-old son, and her son's teenage friend in Hadden's pickup truck and trailer to a ranch in Butte County, Idaho, where they backed up to a corral and loaded twenty cattle into the trailer. Keppner testified the group took the cattle to Ramey's ranch, where they received a check made out to him and Bilbao for approximately $8500. Keppner cashed the check (apparently without Bilbao's endorsement) and gave the money to Hadden, who gave him $2,900 she owed him and kept the rest. On cross-examination, Keppner was confronted with the fact he had testified at the preliminary hearing that only Hadden's son and the son's friend accompanied him to the Butte County ranch to load the cattle, as well as other inconsistencies...

Read the decision HERE

No comments: