Bear rally still planned for courthouse Friday

A peaceful gathering to protest the illegal bear killings in Wilton last month is still scheduled to go forward on Friday, Oct. 20. Those wishing to make their feelings known will gather at Norwalk Superior Court, 17 Belden Avenue, at 9:30. People are asked to see Jill, Marguerite, or Eleanor Sasso when they arrive. They will receive signs and a flyer on the group's mission statement.

The protest was originally scheduled for Sept. 28, but the court date for those arrested was postponed until Friday. Should it be postponed again, the protest will still go forward with the group assembling at the McDonald's in the mall across from the courthouse.

Annie Hornish, Connecticut director of the Humane Society of the United States, will lead an organizational rally addressing bear hunting, including a legislative attempt earlier this year to make it legal in Connecticut.

On Sept. 16, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection received an anonymous report on a Saturday that an archery hunter had illegally shot and killed two black bears on private property on Indian Rock Place.

Officers from DEEP’s Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police responded and said Antonio Lio, 28, of Wilton was seen exiting the woods allegedly carrying a bear skin, head and paws stored in his backpack. He was accompanied by a second person, Daniel Moran, age 33, of Norwalk.

Lio allegedly said he shot a bear as it was walking under his tree stand. Lio further admitted that he shot and killed a second bear that approached him while he was checking on the first deceased bear, police said.

Lio told ENCon Police he texted Moran to assist in retrieving the bears. Upon arrival, Moran and Lio allegedly skinned the first bear, cutting off its paws and head, for a trophy mount.

Lio did not have a valid 2017 hunting license or archery permit. After the initial investigation both men were arrested. Lio was charged with two counts of Illegal taking of black bear and one count of fourth-degree negligent hunting. He was released on a $5,000 non-surety bond for the misdemeanors.