Man facing felony charges after black bear shot, killed, deputies say


MIDDLEBURG, Fla. – A Middleburg man is facing charges after a Florida black bear was shot and killed on his neighbor's property, according to the Clay County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators said Joseph Matthew Empleo, 32, was charged with tresspass during take of animal, take of Florida black bear and use of full metal jacket, which is a type of ammunition. All three are felony charges.

According to an arrest warrant from the Sheriff's Office, on Dec. 13, 2018, Empleo trespassed onto a neighbor's wooded property behind his residence where he previously placed a tree stand and multiple feeders with a large amount of corn to attract wildlife.

According to investigators, Empleo was sitting in a tree stand when he shot a black bear four to five times after it entered the area. Empleo then exited the tree stand and shot the bear one final time at close range, killing it, the report said.