RED LODGE - A man who admitted to shooting and killing three cows south of Bridger last fall has been sentenced to prison.
Scott Allen Stemm Jr. was sentenced Wednesday in Carbon County District Court after previously pleading guilty to three counts of felony criminal mischief.
Stemm was ordered to spend five years in state custody on the first count, followed by five years suspended on each of the remaining counts. He was also ordered to pay $9,900 in restitution.
Three other charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
According to state prison records, Stemm is incarcerated at the Gallatin County jail while he is processed into the state corrections system. He has a prior felony conviction in Carbon County for theft, records state.
The cattle shooting case surfaced in late October of last year when neighbors of Paul and Jean Loyning called to inform them they had discovered three of the ranching couple's cattle shot, killed, and left untouched. The couple operates a ranch at the base of the Pryor Mountains near the Montana-Wyoming border.
“Killed them for no reason, looks like. Didn’t get any meat,” Paul Loyning told Q2 News shortly after the incident.
Some workers in the area reported witnessing a man in a Dodge Dakota drive up the dirt road and shoot two calves and a cow from inside the truck.
The Carbon County Sheriff's Office investigated and identified Stemm as the culprit. He was charged in mid-November.
According to court documents, Stemm indicated to Carbon County authorities that he had been “drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, and popping pills” all day on Oct. 31 when he shot at the three cows with an AR-15. Stemm indicated he shot the cows for food but did not try to retrieve the animals.