The North Dakota Stockmen's Association is giving a $3,000 reward to an unnamed informant who helped crack a three-year-old cattle-killing case in Oliver County.
The group also is giving $1,500 each to the two ranch families affected by what Brand Board Chairman Jeff Schafer calls "a senseless shooting." That money comes from a donation by Dakota Community Bank and Trust.
Nine cattle belonging to John Dixon and Miles Tomac were gunned down in a pasture on the Fourth of July in 2012. After a lengthy investigation, authorities charged Dillon Gappert, 28, of Hensler, with felony criminal mischief in June 2015.
Stockmen's investigator Fred Frederikson said in an affidavit that shell casings, tire tracks and a witness tied Gappert to the crime. It isn't clear if the witness was the same person as the informant.
Gappert — who maintains his innocence — last month reached a deal with prosecutors to resolve the case by agreeing to pay $5,000 in restitution. That's about 40 percent of the estimated value of the four cows, four calves and one yearling that were killed.
Court documents show Gappert has paid the money. If he stays out of trouble for the rest of the year, the charge against him will be dismissed early next year and the case file sealed.
The $3,000 in reward money being doled out is about 40 percent of what the Stockmen's was offering for information leading to a conviction in the case, Schafer said Wednesday.
"The information was fairly helpful in getting to where we are. A conviction wasn't obtained, but we thought some reward was due," he said.
The $1,500 apiece going to Dixon and Tomac will help boost the restitution that both have said won't come close to covering their losses or potential future income from the animals that were killed.
"This was a senseless shooting that deprived these ranchers of their cattle and of the revenue that they would have generated for years to come," Schafer said.