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Trial scheduled for Robert Stietz
stietz in court
Robert Stietz (left) was in Lafayette County Circuit Court on Wednesday, Nov. 27 with his attorney Dean Strang, for a status conference during which a jury trial was scheduled for March 11-13. -Photo by Tallitha Reese

A three day jury trial in March has been scheduled for Robert Stietz, the man who got into an armed standoff with two DNR wardens last November.

The trial will begin on March 11 at 9 a.m. and is set to continue through March 13. A one day forfeiture trial has also been scheduled for March 14 after the felony trial has been completed.

Stietz has been charged with one count of first degree recklessly endangering safety, a class F felony; two counts of obstructing or resisting an officer, class A misdemeanors; one count of endangering safety/ use of a dangerous weapon, a class A misdemeanor and two counts of intentionally pointing a firearm at a law enforcement officer, class H felonies.

The incident that these charges stem from occurred on Nov. 25, 2012 when Stietz was approached by two wardens on the last day of that year’s deer hunting season, who requested to examine the rifle he was carrying at the time.

According to the criminal report, Stietz allegedly refused to hand over his gun and struck one of the wardens with the stock of it, when they attempted to move closer to him. This resulted in a scuffle in which the rifle was taken from Stietz, who then drew a revolver from his pocket and pointed it at the wardens, who had by that time also drawn their own firearms.

Additional law enforcement were called onto the scene, as Stietz continued to refuse to lower his weapon for an hour before surrendering to officers.

Stietz pleaded not guilty to the charges on Dec. 18, 2012 and on Feb. 22, 2013 he and his attorney, Dean Strang, also filed a motion to dismiss the charges based on 2nd and 14th amendment rights.

That motion was denied by the court presided over by Judge James Beer on Aug. 28 after District Attorney Kate Findley argued that Stietz had no state or federal constitutional right to protect the land that the incident occurred on as it was only an easement leading to his property and not actually owned by the defendant. 

“From the time they [the wardens] met the defendant outside the gates they were not on his property. He owns the property inside the fence line and has no property rights in the field lane leading to his property and was granted an easement for purposes of ingress and egress only,” said Findley in a response to the motion filing for dismissal of charges.