Man pleads not guilty to illegal timbering at Coonskin Park - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Man pleads not guilty to illegal timbering at Coonskin Park

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David Bowen plead not guilty to illegal timbering. David Bowen plead not guilty to illegal timbering.
A contractor has been accused of illegally timbering trees at Coonskin Park in Kanawha County, WV. A contractor has been accused of illegally timbering trees at Coonskin Park in Kanawha County, WV.
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CHARLESTON, WV -

UPDATE:

David Bowen plead not guilty Wednesday, July 2, to charges of illegal timbering that was handed down from the grand jury.

Bowen is currently on bond and restricted to Kanawha and Fayette Counties for work purposes. His timber license was revoked but he is still logging for another company.

His court date is scheduled for August 18th in front of Judge Duke Bloom.
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UPDATE:

According to deputies with the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office, David Bowen turned himself into police Wednesday, May 14.

Bowen is charged with wrongful injuries to timber, destruction of property, and fraudulent schemes.  He posted his $25,000 surety bond shortly after he was arraigned, court documents show.

Bowen, of Russell Trucking, was hired by the Parks and Recreation Commission to clean up debris and trees in Coonskin Park, left behind from the 2012 derecho.  

Instead, investigators said he cut down healthy trees and sold them for a profit totaling more than $100,000.

Margaret Zaleski said she is relieved Bowen turned himself in.  She used to work for a logging company and walks her dog in Coonskin Park every day.

Zaleski noticed someone was doing illegal timbering and went to the KCPRC, she said.  Her concerns helped spark an investigation into Bowen's current criminal charges.

"I was really, really hot about this, because they're destroying the park," she said.

Bowen faces 3-22 years in prison if convicted of the crimes.
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UPDATE:

According to the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office, a warrant was issued for 50-year-old David Bowen, of Charleston, WV.

Bowen, who owned and operated a trucking and logging business formerly known as Russell Trucking,  is accused of cutting down healthy trees at Coonskin Park and selling them for a profit of over $100,000.

When arrested, Bowen will be charged with wrongful injuries to timber, destruction of property, and fraudulent schemes.

The Kanawha County Sheriff's Office says Bowen is believed to be out-of-state, and are hoping to arrest him soon.

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ORIGINAL:

There are new developments in the case of a contractor who's accused of illegally timbering trees at Coonskin Park in Kanawha County, WV.Members of the Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday.  Attorney Chuck Bailey said he is reviewing a new report from the Division of Forestry that focuses David Bowen a contractor accused of illegal timbering.

Bowen was hired by the commission to clean up debris and tress from the June 2012 derecho.  Park officials didn't know there was a problem with Bowen's work until a meeting over the summer. A resident told park officials she believed there was unauthorized timbering happening at the park.

"There were a lot of trees that had been cut, a lot of stumps left," said director Jeff Hutchinson.

County officials believe Bowen went further out into the park and cut down healthy trees for a profit.

"We found an access road, a logging road, going down over the hill here and there'd been a lot of activity here," Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson said the commission entered into an oral agreement with Bowen in good faith.

Bowen has been cooperating with the park in light of the allegations, Hutchinson says.  He is repairing all of the damage that he can.  The park hopes to work out an agreement with Bowen once the commission has a chance to go over the Division of Forestry report.

Bailey said no decision has been made as to whether or not the park will sue Bowen.

The Kanawha County Sheriff's Office is also investigating Bowen's actions. He could face criminal charges in the matter.