After months of investigating and going to court, the two men responsible for cheating in the Lake Erie Walleye Trail tournament last fall have finally pleaded guilty to their dirty deeds.
Jacob Runyan and Chase Cominsky, of Broadview Heights, Ohio, and Hermitage, Pennsylvania, were accused of stuffing fish with lead weights and fillets to win $28,000 worth of prizes in the tournament.
The suspicions arose when tournament Director Jason Fischer noticed that the fish turned in by Runyan and Cominsky were significantly heavier than the average walleye.
In front of an entire crowd of fellow fishermen at Gordon Park in Cleveland, Fischer cut open the fish and found weights and fillets stuffed inside. Competitors standing around were understandably pissed off and so Fischer confiscated the fish on sight as evidence and that’s when police got involved.
Through a plea deal, both men pleaded guilty to charges of cheating and unlawful ownership of wild animals. Runyan and Cominsky also agreed to three-year suspensions of their fishing licenses, and Cominsky would have to give up his $100,000 bass boat.
Due to the men pleading guilty and complying with prosecutors, the court has decided to drop the charges of attempted grand theft and possessing criminal tools.
Although both men are scheduled to be sentenced on May 11, prosecutors are also recommending a sentence of six months probation. Assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor James Gallagher said, if they complete their probation successfully, their convictions will be expunged.