Claremore Daily Progress

February 24, 2013

Taxidermist speaks out against Steidley

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

CLAREMORE — Taxidermist Tony Shrum is speaking out against District Attorney Janice Steidley’s attention to a 2012 Rogers County wildlife case involving her spouse, Larry Steidley and her brother Ray Smith.

“Janice Steidley said she was going to handle this like any other case, but then when it came down to it, this deal was different,” Shrum said. “I’m just the taxidermist, I don’t want to be in it, but right is right and wrong is wrong,” 
“I handled this matter in the proper way.  Once the game ranger contacted me and asked me how to handle this situation, I told him to handle it as he would in any other case,” Janice Steidley said.  
Shrum, owner of Shrum’s Taxidermy, provided information that indicates three different people questioned him in the days after he provided a statement to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife, regarding the illegal possession and hunting of two whitetail deer.
Shrum believes that the questioning of his original statements about the illegal activities of Larry Steidley and Smith was an attempt to manipulate the truth.
“They were looking for any loophole to get him [Larry Steidley] out of it,” Shrum said.
Larry Steidley and Smith were charged with illegal possession and illegal hunting of a whitetail deer.
The deer were brought to Shrum’s Taxidermy for processing by Larry Steidley, according to the officer’s report.
“They were wrong and they were just trying to blame it on somebody,” Shrum said. “But, that is not the way they look at it, it is all politics.”
 A mutual friend of Shrum and District Attorney Janice Steidley was the first to ask him to verify his story, according to Shrum.
Shrum did not want to identify the man by name, but confirmed that he presented a copy of the officer’s report and the evidence after meeting with Janice Steidley. 
The documents in question are not released to the general public during an ongoing investigation under the Oklahoma Open Records Act.
“I gave nothing of my husband’s case to anyone.  My husband received a copy of the report through his attorney who was given it directly from the game warden. I had no one from my office contact anyone in regards to this case as we were conflicted out and I did not contact anyone as the District Attorney in this case,” Janice Steidley said.
The Claremore Daily Progress requested a copy of the police officer’s report and was told it was not public record.
The friend told Shrum that Janice Steidley spent an entire evening working on questions for him to ask Shrum.
He questioned Shrum on the timeline of events, paying particular attention to the dates the officer was given for the police report.
“They wanted me to say the horns were found here and not brought here,” Shrum said.
Additionally, the friend was not a law enforcement officer or employee of the DA, Shrum said. The entire deal was very strange, said Shrum.
After “the friend” contacted Shrum then the defense attorney that was representing Larry Steidley and Smith contacted him.
Once again, Shrum was asked the same questions.
Finally, Shrum was contacted by District Attorney Eddie Wyant and again was questioned.
Shrum said he asked Wyant what his relationship with Janice Steidley was during their conversation.
“He [Wyant] said, ‘Janice is a friend of mine’,” Shrum said.
In the 12 years he has been working in the business of taxidermy, Shrum said he has never had this type of experience.
“It is a don’t mess with me game or I will get you,” Shrum said.
“They got off the hook very cheap, they need to take their $3,000 loss and move on, they were wrong,” Shrum said. “If any of us got caught doing what those guys did they would have taken our trucks, our guns and our hunting license.”