Local landowner dispute turns ugly


New member
R.I. hunters accused of beating man
One of group of five arrested after dispute with landowner

THORNDIKE — When Dorothy Johnson saw blood in the driveway when she arrived home Wednesday evening, she assumed her husband, Richard Johnson, had shot a deer.

But inside the couple’s home, she found Richard on the couch badly injured. She quickly learned that it was his blood in the driveway.

Johnson, 58, was the victim of a beating allegedly at the hands of five hunters from Rhode Island, Chief Deputy John Ford of the Waldo County Sheriff’s Department reported Friday.

One of the hunters has been arrested and charged with aggravated assault. More charges are expected to follow.

Johnson had observed hunters on his property Wednesday afternoon and wanted them to leave, he said Friday. Worried about the safety of his children and grandchildren who live in the area, he honked the horn on a truck he believed to belong to one of the hunters to get their attention.

When no one came to the road, Johnson propped a stick against the horn so that it would continue to blow, then left a note in the vehicle, asking the men to meet him at his house, he said.

A short while later, at about 4 p.m., the truck pulled into his driveway, and Johnson met the men outside. When he told them they couldn’t hunt on his property, the men countered that the property wasn’t posted and so they couldn’t be banned from hunting there.

Johnson said he promised the men that the posted signs would be up the next day.

Ford noted that there is no requirement for a landowner to post signs in order to keep hunters, or anyone, off private property. If a hunter is asked to leave and refuses, the hunter can be charged with criminal trespassing, he said.

After the initial exchange with the men, one of them started shoving Johnson, knocking his hat from his head. When Johnson bent over to pick up the hat, Ford said, “they put the fists and the boots to him.”

Two men did most of the hitting and kicking, Johnson remembers.

“The one that did most of the pounding was about my age,” Johnson said. Johnson was kicked repeatedly in the chest and side and finally passed out.

Upon regaining consciousness, he was able to get into the house, where he collapsed on the couch. When Dorothy Johnson returned home and realized the puddles of blood were her husband’s, she took Johnson to a hospital in Waterville and called the Sheriff’s Department while traveling.

Ford said Deputy Matt Curtis interviewed Johnson in the hospital. Johnson was admitted and treated for a severe concussion. He was released Thursday afternoon.

Ford, a former game warden and sheriff of Waldo County, said he was familiar with the group from Rhode Island. He remembers charging one or more of the men in an illegal hunting incident many years ago.

Late Thursday, with help from Maine State Police and game wardens, the Rhode Island truck was located at a hunting camp in Albion and impounded. The owner of the vehicle, Vincent DeCarlo, 43, of Foster, R.I., was arrested and charged with aggravated assault.

“We hope to make more arrests,” Ford said.

By Friday, DeCarlo had hired a lawyer and was released from the Waldo County Jail on $3,000 cash bail, Ford said.

Johnson said he still was in bad shape from the assault on Friday afternoon.

“I’m laid-up pretty good,” he said. The owner of a house construction business, Johnson said his injuries had affected his ability to make a living.

“I can’t work. I can’t even drive,” he said.

“My nose is broken, my throat is killing me,” Johnson said, and most of his upper body was in pain from the kicks he suffered in the ribs.

A hunter himself, Johnson said he always has warned hunters to stay off his property, “because it isn’t safe.” He usually directs them to an area that is farther from homes.

Now he will keep his property posted, he said.

Ford said such incidents give the majority of hunters, who are law-abiding and courteous, a black eye. He said he wouldn’t be surprised to see more landowners ban hunting on their land because of such confrontations.

By Tom Groening
Bangor Daily News
November 10, 2001
Those thugs should have their hunting PRIVILEGES taken from them.Someone needs to show those idiots who's in charged,if you know what I mean!!!
Thanks for the Info Tasha.

Its bad hunter like that, that screw it up for everybody in or out of state. Darn but-heads screw it up for everybody.
I sure wouldn't want to be Vincent DeCarlo right now.

Wait till he walks into a bar filled with hunters! He will get what he has coming.

Tasha, could you please keep us all posted as to what happen's to this "thug"?