Carbon County Circuit Court Judge Susan Stipe presided over the criminal trespass trial of four Missouri hunters. (Creative Commons)

A six-member Carbon County jury ruled Friday that four Missouri hunters are not guilty of criminal trespass, or trespass to hunt, for corner crossing past Elk Mountain Ranch in 2021.

The three-man, three-woman panel returned not guilty verdicts on all charges against defendants Phillip Yeomans, Bradly Cape, John Slowensky and Zachary Smith after deliberating for less than two hours.

Corner crossing involves stepping from one piece of public land to another at a common corner with two other pieces of private property, without touching that private property.

Complete report here.

Correction: This story was updated to reflect that a three-man, three-woman jury returned the verdict — not a four-man, three-woman jury as originally stated. The seventh, alternate juror was excused.

Join the Conversation


Want to join the discussion? Fantastic, here are the ground rules: * Provide your full name — no pseudonyms. WyoFile stands behind everything we publish and expects commenters to do the same. * No personal attacks, profanity, discriminatory language or threats. Keep it clean, civil and on topic. *WyoFile does not fact check every comment but, when noticed, submissions containing clear misinformation, demonstrably false statements of fact or links to sites trafficking in such will not be posted. *Individual commenters are limited to three comments per story, including replies.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Great news for the people!! Let’s hope this starts righting the many years of past wrongs. Open the lands that were promised to us all.

  2. Good to hear that the expropriation of public lands by private parties will not stand (at least in this case), after all when private parties can block access to public lands they are essentially seizing for themselves (a form of eminent domain sans the compensation)

  3. I’ll betch’a after getting the bad news, Billionaire Freddie put a stop on that fat check going to Mayfield’s reelection campaign.

  4. This is Great News! It is ludicrous to think that that the airspace over private property constitutes Criminal Trespass based off the language of the Criminal Trespass Statute under Wyoming Law. Kudos to the 4 men for standing up to a bully. I predict the Civil Suit now in Federal Court will go in their favor as well. Public Land accessible to the Public!

  5. We are going to toast the people’s victory tonight. Justice was done. Now we need a permanent fix via legislation. What matters is that you acknowledge right from wrong and not play games because you feel entitled. These corners should be posted and open to transit for wildlife as well as people. If you want to access public land you have a right, not a privilege. Do airlines have to worry about flying over your house? You going to sue the neighbor’s cat? Ridiculous.

  6. I hope Ashley Mayfield sleeps soundly tonight – with visions of torches and pitchforks. I’d say she’d make a great James Bond villian, but that would just be a slap in the face to the villians. What a blatant, in your face attempt at injustice and thank goodness a fair jury could see right through the ineptness and corruption. Carbon County, Mayfield pizzed away your tax dollars. Jim Black

  7. Well, I was rooting for the prosecution team and was going to sip a cold in honor of their victory. Guess the jury must of been corrupt or paid off. Sad day in America

    1. Six men and women saw through the farce that air space belongs to the private landowner. The air space belongs to the “several landowners below” and that includes public landownwers!

    2. Brad, on just about every corner crossing article published on WyoFile, you’ve had something goofy to say. Your comment here is no exception. Sounds like you need a hug, maybe the gazillionaire at Elk Mountain will give you one, drive out there and find out. Hey, you can even corner cross now to get to his mansion, Brad! Sad day in America, you say? A GREAT day for public land enthusiasts of America! Viva the Show Me State Four!

      1. So it’s “sad” that we can access the land that we should have been able to access all along since it was all ours in the first place-how so Brad? What’s sad is that you people think you can land lock the public from what rightfully belongs to all off us.

        Drinking a victory beer right now!

    3. Brad, you must feel awful that the seizure and expropriation of public lands has been stopped. That access being restored to the rightful owners of public lands (ie the public) must make you feel the worst.

  8. Thankyou Angus for being eyes and ears for us and for Wyofile sending you. So glad to get this news quickly. Thanks to the hunters who went through this roller coaster ride. It is nice to have a moment in time to celebrate where the world feels right and fair.

  9. Congrats to our champions of public land access, the “Missouri Four” and a big SHAME ON YOU to the corrupt sellouts at the Carbon County Attorney’s Office. What an absolute charade and the right thing for Ashley Mayfield and Co. to do would be to reimburse the hunters all their expenses. Oh boy, Ashley, your boss @ the Elk Mt Ranch is going to be very disappointed in you…..

        1. In mo public land has public access.. it’s the states job to provide public access paid by taxpayers . Taxpayers buy the access location maintains it and no reason for public to tresspass on private property. Not private property owner to provide access to public. Does public pay taxes on that part of private land. Or does land owner pay taxes and maintain fences. Who maintains fence on public land . Is it shared between owner and state gov. Taxpayers ?? Fly a drone to close to ur space and find out if we all don’t have private air space above our heads . All goes back to 1700 13 colonies.. equal footing act of Congress. Some man on here quoted high water mark for rivers. Needs to educate himself difference between navigable and non navigable rivers. USC chapter 18 and 33 lists non navigable rivers in mo. I’m sure there’s chapter for ur state . Nav.. state owns bed.. public owns water. Federal gov regulates. Non nav .. ownership vested to landowner. I’m sure the equal footing act addresses Wyoming problem if lawmakers judges wud educate themselves on laws. Seems all states have problem with legeslature not doing their homework before passing laws.