Gary Lee Minor Jr., 37, of Albertville and Robert Scott Gillaspie, 45, of Boaz each were convicted in a non-jury trial in Marshall County court of theft by deception and tampering with a sporting event, according to Marshall County District Attorney Steve Marshall.
Each man was sentenced to 30 days in jail and ordered to pay $1,000 and court costs. After their release they will serve two years on probation and perform 400 hours of community service, Marshall said. They also had their fishing and hunting licenses revoked and were banned from participating in fishing tournaments.
The men have appealed the conviction, Marshall said.
Minor and Gillaspie were arrested in May after a man in the tournament reported he saw them remove fish from a net that was planted near the dock. The witness told officers with the Alabama Department of Conservation that the men were keeping fish in a pen in the water and using those fish for the tournament weigh-in. The officers conducted an investigation and got “enough evidence to be confident of a conviction,” according to conservation officer Lt. Jim Kirkland.
The prize for catching the largest bass and winning the tournament was a pot into which each competitor placed a fee for entering.
Marshall said competitors became suspicious after the men won six tournaments in a row.