UPDATE:  Bear Killing Hearing Postponed to Nov. 30

Lawyers for the two men accused in the case of two bears killed last month in Wilton secured a last-minute postponement for the men’s plea hearing. It’s the second delay in scheduled hearings for the bow hunting episode that took the life of two bears on Sept. 16. The original hearing was scheduled for Sept. 28, but was delayed until Friday, Oct. 20. This second postponement was secured less than an hour before the 10 a.m. start to Friday’s court docket.

Wilton residents still showed up to demonstrate their anger about the crime and what they say are insufficient penalties for anyone found guilty of killing a bear in Connecticut. They also want their message against legalizing bear hunting to reach CT legislators who consider making the practice legal.

ORIGINAL STORY:  Wiltonians Plan Protest Rally at Bear Killing Hearing Friday

There’s a plea hearing scheduled in Norwalk Superior Court on Friday, Oct. 20 for the two men accused in the case of two bears killed last month in Wilton. Residents upset with both the killing and the existing CT laws and penalties for killing a bear plan to be outside the courthouse (17 Belden Ave. in Norwalk) for what they say will be a peaceful protest.

According to one of the organizers Eleanor Sasso, the group is advocating for stiffer penalties for anyone convicted of poaching or trophy hunting, and to raise awareness about what they say are efforts to legalize the hunting of bears in the state.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., and protesters are organizing to meet at 9:30 a.m..

Scheduled to be in court tomorrow is Antonio Lio, a 28-year-old Wilton man who was arrested by Department of Environmental and Energy Protection (DEEP) police on Sept. 16 for allegedly killing two bears with a bow on private property in Wilton. DEEP Police were responding to an anonymous tip about someone hunting bears, and they found Lio walking out of the woods carrying a backpack that contained the skin, head and paws of one of the bears.

Also appearing in court is Daniel Moran, 33, of Norwalk, who was arrested for conspiracy to illegally take a moose or bear, and allegedly helping Lio.

According to a DEEP press release, Lio told police he shot a bear as it walked under his tree stand. He then admitted that he shot and killed a second bear when it approached him as he was examining the first bear. Lio reportedly texted Moran to help him remove the bears from the woods. Once Moran arrived, the two men allegedly skinned the first bear, taking the paws and head for a trophy mount.

Lio was charged with two counts of Illegal Taking of Black Bear and Negligent Hunting in the 4th Degree. Moran was charged with Conspiracy to Commit Illegal Taking of a Black Bear.

Bear hunting is currently illegal in CT, but legislators in Hartford periodically debate proposed legislation to legalize bear hunting in the state, as they did this past spring. A bill that would have made bear hunting legal was introduced during this year’s legislative session, but was scuttled in May 2017.

Rally organizers say they have support of the Humane Society, which will have a representative on-site at the Norwalk Courthouse Friday.