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Christopherson gets probation for deer vandalism

A common word dominated the plea hearing for Robert Christopherson Friday: disgusting.

Christopherson pled guilty to one count of criminal damage to property and was sentenced to one year probation for his efforts stemming to a June 2005 incident.

That night, Christopherson and David Berndt, then-seniors at River Falls High School, found a dead deer on the side of the road, placed it in their pickup truck, drove for miles, dragged the carcass across the yards of three houses, lifted it over a wood fence and carried it to the wooded backyard of the house owned by Steven J. Moore.

They then allegedly unstrapped the cover of a hot tub, which was operating, and hoisted and stuffed the bloody carcass inside, then left, covering the hot tub.

The incident was reported and published in local papers. Both Christopherson and Berndt read the incident and realized they had gotten the wrong target.

However, River Falls police didn't have any idea who committed the crime for nearly 15 months, until Christopherson bragged about it on the Internet. The two were charged in November.

"It's disgusting, to say the least," District Attorney John O'Boyle said. O'Boyle said probation was definitely appropriate, considering Christpherson's age and the fact he had no prior criminal record.

He did try for 10 days jail time, considering the planning involved, the act involved and Christopherson's response upon finding out they had gotten the wrong target: "Well, -- it happens."

His attorney, Kerry Kelm, also used the word "disgusting," along with "stupid," and said he doesn't deny doing it.

She argued because Berndt didn't get jail time (he was also sentenced to one year probation last month), Christopherson shouldn't either. She stressed the Christopherson of the present --- attending Iowa State University, majoring in business marketing and planning for summer jobs.

Christopherson also addressed the court, saying he'd apologized for his actions, there was no excuse for what he did and "that it was a stupid, high school prank two years ago."

In the end, Wing sided with the defense in regard to jail time, highlighting the fact he had no prior record, he committed the act when he was 17, the circumstances were similar to Berndt and the Moore family didn't ask for jail.

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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