A Westmoreland County man accused of poaching a deer in a shopping center parking lot near Blairsville has been placed on a first-time offenders’ program with a chance to have his record cleared of criminal charges in less than one year.
Arcangelo Bianco Jr., 40, of Derry, was accepted Wednesday into the accelerated-rehabilitative disposition (ARD) program by Indiana County Judge William Martin. Bianco avoids trial for a misdemeanor count of recklessly endangering another person and five summary game law violations, and can ask to have the arrest removed from his court record if he completes the ARD requirements in six months.
Witnesses testified at a hearing last spring in Blairsville District Court that Bianco stopped his truck at Resort Plaza in Burrell Township at 2:10 p.m. on Nov. 26 — the first day of deer hunting season — then ran after a large antlered deer with a handgun, fired four shots at it and killed the animal as it crossed Old Route 22 into a residential area.
Bianco’s attorney, Jason Huska, of Latrobe, suggested during the hearing that Bianco wasn’t aware of any people in the area where he fired the shots, but Assistant District Attorney Jay Carmella contended that the shopping center, anchored by a Walmart store, was likely to be busy with shoppers on the Monday after Thanksgiving.
State wildlife conservation officer Jack Lucas filed the charges in March after interviewing a Walmart worker, reviewing surveillance video recordings and talking to a butcher and taxidermist who had processed the deer for Bianco.
Under terms of the ARD program, Bianco is required to pay $900 in costs of prosecution and $180 of probation supervision fees and to perform 20 hours of community service.
In addition to reckless endangerment, charges of hunting without a license, hunting in a safety zone, shooting across a highway and two other hunting law offenses could be erased from Bianco’s record with a judge’s consent upon completion of ARD.