Update: Giant Gator Killed In Trinity River

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on July 21st, 2011

trinity gator

Photo from Levi McCathern II

Dallas attorney Levi McCathern II is likely not smiling so widely now.

McCathern, 42, a former Baptist minister whose website says he’s represented Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys in court, became something of a celebrity in his own right after claiming that he shot a 14-foot, 880-pound alligator on his first reptile hunt June 11.

Photos of him posing next to the beast along the Trinity River in Leon County were flashed on television, carried by newspapers and bounced around the Internet.

Turns out the alligator was actually 13 feet 1 inch and was no record as asserted.

Worse, arrest warrants were issued Wednesday for McCathern and his three guides for illegally hunting the big gator and an 8-footer on private property, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials said.

The four were expected to turn themselves in Wednesday at the Leon County Sheriff’s Department in Centerville, about 145 miles southeast of Fort Worth, department spokesman Mike Cox said in a news release.

However, McCathern’s attorney said that he was out of state on a scheduled family vacation and that the Leon County attorney has been informed. The attorney, George Milner III of Dallas, said his client will fight the charge, saying he understood that the guides had permission to be on the land to hunt.

“I can tell you he will be acquitted,” Milner said.

Moreover, McCathern performed a public service, his lawyer asserted.

“As big as this alligator was, they should have given him a medal,” Milner said.

One of the guides, Steve Barclay, insisted in a brief telephone interview that the landowner had given his OK.

“We did in fact have permission to kill alligators on that land,” Barclay said.

Taking wildlife without a landowner’s consent is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $4,000, a one-year jail sentence or both. The department will also seek more than $5,000 in restitution for the two alligators, the release said.

Both gators have been seized by authorities.

Game wardens in Leon and Houston counties began the investigation when an unidentified property owner reported that a large alligator had been killed without his permission on his land on the Trinity River. A smaller gator was taken on his property the day before.

McCathern said in at least one interview that his 14-year-old son had killed an alligator the day before he did. Cox said that earlier shooting is still under investigation.

The lawyer’s guides were identified by Parks and Wildlife as Barclay, 47; Sam Lovell, 56; and Ryan Burton, 21. Barclay and Lovell operate a Kennard-based hunting-guide service called the Gar Guys.

It’s not clear whether McCathern will represent himself on the misdemeanor charge.

His website boasts that he “has enjoyed unusual success in the historically more liberal courts of the northern and eastern parts of Texas. … His strength is the same in and out of the courtroom — relating to all people, from janitors to CEOs, on their level.”

It’s not the first time that Barclay, Lovell and a client faced an alligator-hunting misdemeanor in Leon County.

In 2007, a charge over the shooting of a 13-foot gator was dismissed “for lack of evidence,” Leon County Attorney Jim Witt told Texas Fish & Game magazine. Witt is still the county attorney and handles such misdemeanor case.

Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Monster-gator killers face charges of illegal hunting
By Barry Shlachter

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

14 Responses to “Update: Giant Gator Killed In Trinity River”

  1. Peter Von Berg responds:


  2. flame821 responds:

    Is there a dispute as to a property line? Because if they don’t have, in writing, permission from the land owner to hunt on his property they are skunked.

    If its a property dispute and they can prove they were unaware of the boundaries they ‘might’ skate, otherwise I wouldn’t be surprised if an ‘example’ was made of them, especially as this is the 2nd time the guides are being charged in 4 years.

  3. flame821 responds:

    Woww….went to the linked article and read some of those comments. Yikes!

    Apparently Baptists and Lawyer are held in equal, how shall I phrase this, disdain by the commentors of the Star-Telegram.

    Still mistaking a 13′ 1″ gator for a 14′ gator is quite understandable. And I have to wonder how the land owner knew the gator was taken from ‘his’ land. I’m under the impression (and I may well be wrong) that the Trinity ran through several ranches in the area and that those ranches aren’t small.

    I do, however, call foul on his bragging about doing well in liberal courts in Texas. I don’t think his definition of liberal is the same as the East Coast’s definition of liberal. LOL. Beginning to see why no one trusts a lawyer, especially when they are blowing their own horns.

  4. Red Earth White Lies responds:

    Look at that… the Powers That Be trying to grab all of the evidence (grin).

    The Landowner gets to keep the animals and the “State” will assess a fine to the OTHER thieves…clear?

  5. greatstart responds:

    That’s considered a monster gator? In Florida they get way, way bigger than that. How about 23 foot crocs?

  6. Kyle responds:

    Wow. The things people do in the name of “sport hunting”. Big time lawyer with big time money. If you want to impress me, jump out of the boat and get it with your bare hands. Otherwise, don’t gloat. You did nothing spectacular.

  7. yowzasma responds:

    Glad to see this posted, here is an earlier article.

  8. HulkSmashNow responds:

    Baptists and lawyers? You should see how the Star-Telegram treats the Dallas area sports teams, especially the Cowboys?

  9. Nny responds:

    Pretty much agree with Kyle.

    Sure, you could make an argument that killing ‘monster’ gators is for the benefit of…. something. Livestock. Well being. Livelihood. But how many monster gators attack people? It could be more than I know, but I doubt the number is high. Why? Because most people would stay away from a monster gator if they saw one.

    It’s kinda like Jaws…. when it starts eating people then kill it. But don’t punish nature for doing what nature does. Don’t kill sharks because a movie tells you they’re evil. Don’t kill gators because you can prove you’re a big man.

    Unless you need to prove it, I guess. Then go right ahead.

    Until the law finds you guilty.

  10. stickyum responds:

    Tell me please, what does this crap have to do with Cryptozoology? Oh, I see, it’s called Texas Humor… Ha-Ha-Ha!

  11. Redrose999 responds:

    I think the gator is the one who got the real bum deal….

  12. DWA responds:


    As big as this alligator was, they should have given him a medal,” Milner said.

    For what? Killing something there’s too few of to make the world a teeny bit safer and more boring for a few million of us? Anybody that gets eaten by a ‘gator probably needed to be removed from the gene pool anyway.

    Real sporting. If you did this with a knife, now we’re talking an even fight.

  13. Trinity responds:

    Our place is in the area where this alligator was killed and am I glad he killed him. We have livestock along the river and I am worried these alligators will catch our livestock. We had a friend that lost his dog to one a few months ago. With the dry conditions in the area, alligators are moving to the river and it is getting a little overpopulated with them. This land owner has been a troublemaker for other ranchers in the area, so its not a surprising of this.

  14. ETxArtist responds:

    Notice he’s being charged with encroaching on landowners’ rights; otherwise, this wouldn’t have been a story in Texas.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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