Troy Gentry's attorney is disputing allegations contained in a federal indictment accusing the 39-year-old singer of illegal activities involving the death of a black bear in Minnesota in 2004. Prosecutors contend that Gentry paid approximately $4,650 to shoot a tame bear while the animal was enclosed in a pen on property owned by Lee Marvin Greenly, 46, of Sandstone, Minn. Greenly also faces charges in the case.
In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 16), attorney Ron Meshbesher of Minneapolis said, "He [Gentry] pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiring with a licensed commercial bear guide and the owner of a private game farm in Minnesota. While up in a tree stand, Troy used a bow and arrow to kill a bear that was running free in [a] several-acre fenced area in the game farm.
"Troy is an avid environmentalist and hunter who supports and follows all game laws. Before he killed the bear, he was told by the bear guide that it was proper and legal to kill the bear, which was not a tamed bear and was never in a pen or cage. Troy used his correct name on his Minnesota bear hunting license and never attempted to disguise his identity."
Meshbesher also claims the indictment misrepresents a video tape made of the kill. Prosecutors contend that the tape was edited to make it appear that the bear was shot in a traditional hunting environment.
"The only editing done was to remove the 'dead time' from the video tape (more than one hour long) reducing the tape to about 15 minutes," Meshbesher said. "The video was for Troy's personal use and was never intended to be and was not used commercially. The bear hide was shipped under Troy's name to a taxidermist in Kentucky and prepared into a taxidermy mount.
"Troy is accused of knowingly and willfully conspiring to violate federal law by taking the bear and transporting its hide from Minnesota to Kentucky and later to Tennessee. Troy absolutely denies that he knowingly and willfully did anything illegal and is confident that he will be exonerated."
Gentry and Greenly appeared Tuesday (Aug. 15) in U.S. District Court in Duluth, Minn., to enter innocent pleas in the case. A federal grand jury returned the indictment on July 25, but the charges were not made public prior to Gentry and Greenly's court appearance.