Trial date set for December for one of six turkey ‘rescuers’
By James Tilson
MANTI—One of the defendants charged with breaking into a turkey farm and stealing a turkey to publicize the conditions of industrial farming now has a trial date.
Wayne Hsiung, 37, of Berkley, Calif., is charged with one count of burglary and one count of theft of a farm animal, both third-degree felonies. Hsiung is one of six co-defendants originally charged with the same crimes as part of an activist operation to uncover what Hsiung’s group called “false advertising” on the part of Norbest turkey farms.
Hsiung’s group, called DxE, made a video of their investigation and subsequently breaking into a Norbest turkey farm near Moroni, where Hsiung took a young turkey from the farm. Hsiung said that he was rescuing the bird from inhumane and dangerous conditions. After the video was taken, Norbest was purchased by Pitman Family Farms.
Sanpete County Attorney Kevin Daniels has said he is only enforcing the law, and is happy to take this matter to trial. “They’re going to want a jury trial,” Daniels said. “I’ll be happy to oblige. I won’t be backing down.”
Of the six co-defendants, only one other, Paul Picklesimer, has not entered a plea agreement. Picklesimer has a court date set for June 12 to set a trial date.
Hsiung’s attorney, Ronald Yengich, appearing by telephone, informed Judge Marvin Bagley that the co-defendants have another trial date in North Carolina for similar charges set to start on Nov. 20. The parties in Utah have been waiting for a trial date to be set in North Carolina in order to set a trial date here. Yengich said the case in Sanpete County was now ready for a trial date.
Daniels agreed, and said since there is “quite a bit of evidence” he would recommend a four day trial.
Judge Bagley set the trial to begin on Dec. 16, with a final pretrial conference set for Dec. 11