Who, age What Where When Last known address
Matthew Allen Lanman (1), 17 hung a dead opossum in school bathroom

Ottumwa, IA

Wapello County

February 7, 2007  
Matthew Allen Lanman, 18 attempted to shoot a protected pair of trumpeter swans

Muscatine, IA

Muscatine County

November 19, 2008 Ottumwa, IA
Shawn Lee Frye, 33 taking protected pair of trumpeter swans

Muscatine, IA

Muscatine County

November 19, 2008  
James Donald LaRue, 31 taking protected pair of trumpeter swans

Muscatine, IA

Muscatine County

November 19, 2008  
Zachary William Boots, 17 taking protected pair of trumpeter swans

Muscatine, IA

Muscatine County

November 19, 2008 Fruitland, IA
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date
Misdemeanor (1) hate crime, criminal mischief (1) 1 Opossum (1) sent to juvenile court  
State Citations/Civil Trial   2 trumpeter swans Cited and fined  

Police say a student at Ottumwa High School committed a hate crime when he hung a dead opossum and a racially inflammatory note in a school bathroom. Matthew A. Lanman, 17, faces a charge of fourth-degree criminal mischief.

The opossum was found with a note insulting blacks and Hispanics.“There was a dead possum hanging in the boys’ bathroom yesterday,” confirmed John Sheldahl, superintendent for the Ottumwa school district.

Ottumwa Police Chief Jim Clark said hanging the opossum in the bathroom rates a charge of fifth-degree criminal mischief. But Iowa law allows authorities to enhance charges if a hate crime was committed. The note left with the opossum qualifies as a hate crime and thus raises the charge.

Students told administrators they thought they knew who left the opossum.  ”Today some students came forward and a student has confessed to the deed,” Sheldahl said. “The person responsible is receiving [school] consequences.”

Lanman was arrested and booked on the charges. Sheldahl said he was not sure of the specific consequences for Lasman, saying he will have to check both school board policies and school codes of conduct to see exactly which rules have been violated.  “I can tell you we’re following district policy,” he said.

Fourth-degree criminal mischief is a serious misdemeanor. Serious misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of between $250 and $1,500. Clark said Lanman will likely be charged as a juvenile.

Update 11/16/08:  The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) say four Iowa men who shot a pair of trumpeter swans in Muscatine County are facing citations and fines.

Shawn Frye and James LaRue, both of Muscatine, and 17-year-old Zachary Boots of Fruitland face a charge of taking a protected non-game species. Eighteen-year-old Matthew Lanman of Ottumwa was charged with attempting to take a protected non-game species.

The DNR said in a news release that Lanman and Boots were hunting waterfowl at the Cedar Bottoms Game Management Area near Muscatine when Lanman shot at a swan and missed and Boots connected with another shot.

The other swan was shot by Frye and LaRue who were hunting nearby.

The DNR says a court date has been set for Dec. 1.

Update 12/1/08:  According to Iowa court records, Matthew Allen Lanman (DOB 11/20/89), Case #07701 STA0007858 & Citation #NR423600, negotiated a voluntary guilty plea and was fined for attempting to pursue, kill, buy, or sell a protected non-game.

Shawn Lee Frye (DOB 1/14/74), Case # 07701 NTA0007876 & Citation #NR423598 negotiated a voluntary guilty plea and was fined for attempting to pursue, kill, buy, or sell a protected non-game.

Zachary William Boots (DOB 1/16/91), Case # 07701 NTA0007875 & Citation #NR423599 negotiated a voluntary guilty plea and was fined for attempting to pursue, kill, buy, or sell a protected non-game.  Also in a civil case # 07701 SPCV018727, Boots was fined $1500 for taking a trumpeter swan.

James Donald LaRue (DOB 3/22/77), Case # 07701 NTA0007877& Citation #NR423597 negotiated a voluntary guilty plea and was fined for attempting to pursue, kill, buy, or sell a protected non-game.  Also in a civil case # 07701 SPCV018725, LaRue was fined $750 for taking a 1 of 2 trumpeter swan.

Reference:

The Hawk Eye

Ottumwa Courier

Iowa Court Records