Alaska Father and Son Convicted of Illegally Slaughtering Sleeping Black Mother Bear and 2 Cubs

An Alaska father and son were sentenced Tuesday to jail time and hefty fines for slaughtering a female black bear and her two terrified newborn cubs, who “began shrieking” in their den after their mother was shot to death, PEOPLE confirms.

Andrew Renner, 41, and his son, Owen Renner, 18, of Wasilla, pleaded guilty to the illegal killing and transporting of the bears and trying to cover up the shootings in what Alaska Assistant Attorney General Aaron Peterson is calling the “most egregious bear cub poaching case his office has ever seen,” according to a statement from the Attorney General’s office, obtained by PEOPLE.

The Attorney General’s Office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

The men faced misdemeanor charges of unlawful take of a female bear with cubs, unlawful take of bear cubs, and the possession and transportation of illegally taken game.

On Tuesday, Andrew was convicted of eight counts related to the illegal killing and transporting of the bears and the falsifying a sealing certificate. He was sentenced to three months in jail and a $9,000 fine.

He also had to forfeit confiscated property he and his son used in the poaching, including a 2012 pickup truck and a 22-foot boat and trailer, KTUU reports. His hunting license has been revoked for 10 years.

Convicted of four counts related to the killing and transporting of the bears, Owen was sentenced to 30 days of suspended jail time.

He must perform community service. His hunting license has been suspended for two years.

Both were also ordered to pay $1,800 in restitution.

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The poaching took place on April 14, 2018, when the two men, hunting on backcountry skis on Esther Island in Prince William Sound, came upon the bears, who were sleeping in their den, the Alaska Attorney General’s Office said in the statement.

Owen fired two rounds at the mother bear in front of her two cubs, who began screaming when they saw their mother killed, the statement said, according to prosecutors, the Associated Press reports.

“It doesn’t matter. Bear down,” Andrew said at the time, court records show, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Andrew then shot and killed the newborn cubs and dumped their bodies on the snow outside the den, the statement said.

“They’ll never be able to link it to us,” court documents show.

What the two men didn’t know was that the bears were part of a study by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Forest Service – and everything they did and said was recorded on a motion-activated game camera set up at the den, prosecutors said, the Associated Press reports.

“What we saw is that there were two bear cubs that were completely defenseless and were shot at point-blank range,” Peterson said, according to the statement.

The video shows the men throwing the sow’s carcass in bags and leaving the area, returning two days later to collect the cub carcasses, prosecutors said, the Anchorage Daily News reports.

Attorneys for Owen did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Andrew’s attorney, Scott Sterling, had no comment when reached by PEOPLE.

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